The Lady Panthers of Geneva weren’t perfect in their 59-28 victory over LAMP on Saturday.
But they were close.
Geneva advanced to the finals of the Class 4A Southeast Region with a convincing win over the Golden Tigers, shooting nearly 50 percent for the game and dominating the boards.
“We did a lot of watching them on offense and defense,” LAMP coach Michael Thornton said. “We’ve had trouble all year putting the ball in the hole. We didn’t do a good job getting back on defense today. Some of that was them but some of it was on us.”
The Panthers had a 14-board advantage in the contest, spurred by 6-foot-3 center Melody Watson, who had 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
“She was tough and made us adjust,” Thornton said. “We shot a few too high or fading away.”
From the start, Geneva looked crisp, building a 13-3 lead with 3:45 left in the first quarter. That lead grew to 18 points at halftime with Geneva shooting 52 percent from the field while LAMP struggled with 20-percent shooting. The Tigers also had 12 turnovers in the first half.
LAMP finished 11-of-51 from the field for 22 percent.
A disturbing trend for LAMP during the game – the Tigers struggled in the opening minutes of each of the first three quarters, unable to score a field goal. That streak was broken in the fourth when Caitlin Russell hit a 3-pointer in the first minute but the damage was done at that point.
“We went up against a good opponent,” Thornton said. “Geneva has a terrific program. They’ve been here before. We were new at this. I think we were mentally prepared but we didn’t execute. We did at the end but we waited too long.”
Serenity Griffin finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Tigers, who finished the season 14-14.
While the season ended for the Tigers on Saturday, the future looks bright for the program. Thornton believes it begins with a tougher schedule.
“I would like to schedule a team like Geneva in fact I asked their coach (Richard Bixby) about playing next year,” Thornton said. “I think that would help us in the long run for situations like these.”
Geneva (24-4) will play St. James on Thursday at 9 am in the regional final at Garrett Coliseum.