Savannah Roncadori drilled four free throw shots in overtime for a thrilling 40-36 win over Franklin County High School.
Most of the Lady Panthers’ hardships were due to poor free throw shooting but Roncadori cured their woes in the fifth quarter which led to a big region win for Jackson County Comprehensive High School.
“The girls continue to play extremely hard and battle with tremendous heart. We are still working on our unforced turnovers but the effort is outstanding from the whole team,” said Head Coach John Hawley.
Katie Phillips opened the scoring drive for the Panthers with a2-pointer. Victoria Fontana took a Lions’ defender full court and finished the job with a pull-up jumper. Up 10-3, Franklin County was due for a timeout but the pep talk was short lived as JCCHS added two more to the scoreboard out of the break.
However at the top of the second, the Lions came out of their slumber. While Jackson County spent time mending shooting troubles, the Lions went on a 7-0 run and later, Franklin County evened the score at 19 going into the break.
Mason Garland regained the lead for JCCHS with a shot from behind the arc but the Lions answered to stay within one. In no time flat, Franklin County was up by one but Fontana utilized her specialty in the pullup jumper to pull the Panthers within two.
Down four at the top of the fourth, Jackson County did not challenge for as many rebounds as they should have. The game was predicated on second chances and free throws which was where Jackson County suffered the most.
The Panthers managed to keep their deficit within four points or less. Phillips aired a 3-pointer to tie the game at 31-all. Both squads added baskets to bring the score to 34 apiece at the end of the fourth quarter. Phillips finished the night with 12 points, Fontana added 10 and Roncadori finished with nine points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Jackson County sought to carry their momentum throughout the weekend but fell just six points shy of defeating Oconee County High School.
“It was a slow start on the offensive end the first half and we just didn’t defend very well. On the positive side, the girls battled the second half and executed offensively and defended much better. It was a tough loss for our team, but I am very confident the girls will grow and mature from this loss,” said Hawley.
Katie Phillips earned a double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Victoria Fontana also scored 15 points and pulled down nine rebounds. The Panthers will return to action at North Oconee High School tomorrow at 7 p.m.