There may be more exciting games played at East Gadsden this season, but it's not likely.
Last Saturday night's clash between the Jaguars and the Panthers was high school basketball at its best.
From the sidelines it was everything you can want: nonstop action, amazing plays, outstanding individual
efforts, animated coaches, raucous fans and some questionable calls.
And with a girls game and JV action just before the main event, the place was packed.
The Panthers swaggered into the game with a 4-0 regular record, plus a tournament win. And they had really piled up the points against their last three opponents.
But the Jaguars were off to a slow start, having started their a week a week later than West. They had also run into some real tough opponents losing to Leon, than Wakulla before beating Taylor County.
A spirited JV game primed the crowd as East beat West 58-45. Then the big show started.
East took the jump and sparkplug Brandon Simmons quickly put in 2. West came right back with 2 of its own and the see-saw scoring battle began. The first period would end with West leading 17-16.
As the first half continued West's Marquis Brown and Patrick Gilyard grabbed their share of rebounds as the Panthers seemed a little more aggressive. And Willie Holmes proved deadly at the free throw line.
With four minutes to go its was 24-24, but when the second period buzzer sounded, West was ahead 35-33 and proved very adept at passing.
They traded the lead in the third period with East ahead 48-47 at the three minute mark. There were plenty of fouls, with the Jaguars initially grabbing more of the free points. As the third period ended, West was back on top 58-55 and Panther Brandon Shingles seemed to alway have the ball.
The Panthers would play the final period at exactly the same pace, while East was hearing the clock tick. The Panthers were dominating the boards as the Jaguars found it increasingly difficult to put up any points, other than charity shots.
In the closing minutes, East put on the press with urgency and some good ball stealing, but could not seem to find the net despite repeated chances.
As the clock got below two minutes, fans started streaming out the doors and there was a brief flurry of scoring. The game finally buzzed out with West winning 81-76 on the scoreboard, 81-75 officially.
Shingles lead the Panthers in scoring with 27 points, including three 3-pointers. Brown led in rebounds.
Simmons lead the Jaguars with 26 points including four 3-pointers.
East took on Jefferson County Tuesday night and was at home against Madison County (East won) on Thursday, night Dec. 25.
West hit the road for Franklin County on Tuesday night and faces Santa Fe on Friday night and Broach out of Jacksonville on Saturday night, both at home during the West Gadsden Shootout.