Home / Starr’s Mill sweeps Whitewater in two close contests
Starr’s Mill sweeps Whitewater in two close contests
The Lady Panthers (14-7) extended their three-game regional winning streak with Friday night’s closely contested overtime victory against a team they previously beat by 40 points.
“I knew we were going to have to come out here and fight, we usually don’t play well at Whitewater and they came out ready to play,” said head coach Shane Ratliff.
In his first year as head coach Ratliff lead the Lady Panthers to a 20-7 mark, their best record in over five years. Now in his second year under the helm Ratliff has a core group of players that he hopes can compete for a region championship.
“We play well as a unit and have a lot of young talent, I’m proud of the way they kept fighting and fighting despite a little adversity,” said Ratliff.
That young talent was on display in the first few seconds of the overtime period when freshman Alli Jones hit a huge three-point shot to begin the overtime period then came back down the court and scored a tough layup inside the paint prompting a timeout from the Whitewater bench.
“Coach just told me to go out there and do what I can to help the team win,”said Jones. “Someone has to do it so I just decided to go out there and give a spark for my team.”
After Jones’ big buckets the Wildcats would not regain the lead. Juniors Lexie Pappas, Katie Buck, and Katie Wilson all finished with eight points and Danielle Garcia had a team high 10 points.
After two big wins over Creekside and Heard County the Whitewater Wildcats varsity boys basketball team appeared primed to make a late season playoff run. On Friday they played arch rival Starr’s Mill and alone with bragging rights on the line was the second place spot in the region. The game started with the two teams going in opposite directions, the Wildcats started ice cold with the Panthers were red hot and the Cats found themselves down 11 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter the teams matched each other basket for basket , the Wildcats could make enough stops to close the gap and went into half down double digits.
When all hope appeared to be lost the Wildcats made a run, behind the sharp-shooting of Darius Sharpe and the play-making of Junaid Olusesi the Wildcats took charge of the game and took the lead but then everything fell apart. The Wildcats were hit with three technical fouls (one of which was the second for Olusesi) and were unable to hit free throws and make stops when the Panthers could. The Wildcats lost 67-64. Sharpe finished with 18 points, Olusesi had 15 points, five assists and five steals but learned after the game he was suspended two games for his two technical fouls.
The Panthers were led by Will Anda, particularly at the free throw line late in the game.
“Anda is a senior and he played like a senior tonight he did a great job and I’m so proud of my guys,” said Hutchins. Anda finished the night with 19 points while Jermiah Vrundy added 15 points and big man David Watson had a team high 22 points.
On Saturday the Wildcats were back at home to play Landmark, a team who were ranked fourth in the state in Class A. The Wildcats came out the gate hot behind the spectacular play of junior Phillip Cofer. Sharpe ran the show scoring the ball and also facilitating the rest of the offense, and fellow senior Robbie Harlfinger played admirably in Olusesi’s place.
The Wildcat defense stifled Landmark’s three-point shooters and took a double digit lead into the half. In the second half the story remained the same, despite furious run by Landmark it wasn’t enough to overcome the phenomenal play of Cofer and Sharpe. This time the Wildcats were able to knock down their free throws to come away with an 84-80 win. Cofer had perhaps his most dominating game as a Wildcats with 47 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks, Sharpe put in 18 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
In other basketball news...
McIntosh’s Lady Chiefs (18-2) are currently ranked fourth in Class AAAAA. They and the McIntosh boys (15-5 and ranked eighth in Class AAAAA) swept East Coweta on Saturday. The girls won 48-42 and the boys won 48-44.
Landmark Christian’s boys (13-6) lost to region leading W.D. Mohammed on Friday night. The girls (8-12) beat W.D. Mohammed 52-13.
Kennington Smith and Horace Holloman contributed to this story.