Monday, August 15, 2022

LAMP girls make history with regional appearance before falling to Geneva

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.”

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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.”

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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.

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