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West Gadsden ranked top 1A team in state

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By Pat Faherty

West Gadsden High School is ranked number one in Florida Division 1A basketball. The Panthers, 8-0, came out on top of the MaxPreps poll released Monday. The team moved up from second place the previous week. And the Panthers defeated Bozeman on Tuesday night, 65-25. MaxPreps.com is a national high school sports website operated by CBS. It provides weekly rankings by state in each high school sports division. It currently lists 45 1A Florida teams. Last week the Panthers hosted the First Annual West Gadsden High School Varsity Boys Basketball "Shootout." Greeensboro basketball fans were treated to back-to-back home games. On Friday, Dec. 16 the Panthers hosted the Santa Fe Raiders, from a Division 4A school in Alachua. The evening started with an exciting JV game that went down to the final buzzer. But Santa Fe took the win 40-38. As the varsity game started, it looked like an even match. though Santa Fe had the advantage in size. And four minutes into the game, the score was tied. But that was the last time it was close. As the first period ended, the Panthers led 17-6. West had an even bigger second period and dominated at the half, 35-12. The Raiders's big guys could get the rebounds, but almost nothing was going in the net. At the end of three, it was West by 57-17. Panther shooters cooled off in the final period and West only managed five points to Santa Fe's four, which all came in a flurry during the final minutes. The game ended with West winning 62-2. The Panthers had spread their points well, with only one player, Brandon Shingles in double digits (14). Willie Holmes had two 3-pointers and Marquis Brown led in rebounds. The Panthers faced Broach West School in second of the tournament. Broach High is a private school on the west side of Jacksonville. They play a freelance schedule and had done very respectable job in their recent 74-50 loss to Leon High. This one had "high scoring" stamped all over it, at least for West . Three minutes into the game, the Panthers led 24-8 and the first period closed with the Panthers ahead 36-14. Shingles, who would later be named Panther Player of the Week, put up 24 points in that quarter, including six straights 3s. He would total 31 points for that game. Between Shingles' shooting and Brown's acrobatic dunks, the crowd hung on every play despite the lopsided score. After three quarters, West led 71-28. Broach kept up with West point for point in the final quarter and the game ended 79-36. West was on the road Tuesday, Dec. 20 facing district rival Bozeman. The Panthers are back at home on Friday night, Dec. 23 against Suwannee.