As both teams prepared to run onto the court to warm-up, the home team band began to play and the crowd began to bounce. The excitement of this rivalry game could be felt in the air.
The visiting Panthers didn’t seem to feel bothered by the atmosphere. The players displayed a lot of energy as they ran through drills and loosened up for the game. The pre-game warm-up time expired and the national anthem was played, which caused the crowd to stand and instantly fall silent.
Shortly after the national anthem, the ball was tipped into play and the game was under way. East Gadsden scored first on a lay-up. The Jaguars jumped out to a small lead early in the first quarter. Emotions ran high after Jaguar player Bobby Dukes received a hard foul with 6:40 left in the first quarter, which in turn got the fans amped. The home team regained its composure and extended its lead and as the first quarter ended the Jaguars lead the Panthers by a score of 17-6.
The second quarter seemed to be a duplicate of the first quarter. The Jaguars continued to dominate in the paint, scoring on several lay-ups and putbacks, while the Panthers continued to have trouble getting around the length of the Panther players. The first half came to a close, and the home team went into the locker room with a 36-24 advantage over the visiting Panthers.
West Gadsden came out in the second half with a sense of urgency as their perimeter players led by Brandon Shingles tried to shoot and drive their team back into the game. With 5:32 left in the third quarter, West Gadsden was able to cut their deficit to 9, but the Jaguars continued to dominate the paint and as a result they were able to quickly push their lead back into the double digits.
Panther’s sharpshooter Brandon Shingles was the leading scorer of the game; he poured in 25 points, but was unable to bring his team back. L. Belhua was the leading scorer for the Jaguars as he produced 14 points.
The final score of this intense rivalry game was 68-58, although the disappointment could be seen on the faces of the Panther players they still shook the hands of the Jaguars and congratulated them.
The next game between these two teams will be on the Panther’s home floor; another entertaining game can be expected.