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Panthers win a pair from visiting Laurel

By By Fredie Carmichael/Special to the Star
Jan. 27, 2001
QUITMAN The Panthers and Lady Panthers of Quitman broke out the broom Friday night as they swept visiting Laurel in Division 5-4A basketball action Friday night. The girls took the opener in a 50-46 nail-biter, while the boys got a decisive 76-67 victory to protect their homecourt.
Quitman boys 76, Laurel 67: Renaldo McKenzie and Marcus McCormick got the Panthers off to a quick start as both nailed back-to-back shots from 3-point land to give Quitman an early 6-3 advantage just minutes into the game.
David Laphand got his first two of his game-high 22-point night, as he electrified the crowd with a thunderous dunk in transition to put Steve Hampton's squad on top 10-3 with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
The Tornadoes used tough inside play from senior Taurean Pollard to end the first quarter trailing home-standing Quitman, 17-13.
Laurel would cut it to 17-15 on turnaround jumper by Joseph Jones seconds into the second quarter. But the Panthers hit an offensive spurt as they went on a 21-2 run to end the half with a commanding 36-18 lead. That impressive run was highlighted by a high-flying Laphand who caught a perfect alley-oop pass from McKenzie and emphatically flushed it home to put Quitman ahead 30-17 with 3:01 to play before halftime.
The Panthers stretched their lead to 60-40 with 6:32 left in the third quarter thanks to another alley-oop pass from McKenzie to Laphand as he finished the play off with an above-the-rim layup. The Tornadoes came swarming a back on a 19-6 run to cut it to 44-37 with 3:07 left in the third on a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Jermaine Cobbins.
Laurel cut it to five on three occasions before Quitman put the game away with the consistent play of Laphand in the paint.
The Panthers made their free throws down the stretch and got a big district 5-4A win 76-67 that moved them 12-10 and 5-1.
Laphand's 22-point night paced the Panthers in scoring, while Marcus McCormick added 12.
Quitman girls 50, Laurel 46: After the first basket by Laurel seconds into the game, there was a three minute scoring drought before the Lady Panthers' Shaquilla "Shaq" Mack hit a bucket down low to tie it up at 2-2 with 4:53 left in the first quarter.
Kemonica McGee hit a trey that tied it up 8-8 to end the first quarter.
Quitman tried to pull away in the second but could never shake the Lady Tornadoes as the Lady Panthers led 20-19 at the half.
The homestanding Lady Panthers used a 13-5 run to start the second half that had them ahead 33-24 with 2:30 to play in the third quarter. That burst saw Takeisha Bonner score six straight as she hit a deep trey and got a 3-point play in a span of 30 seconds midway through the third.
Golden Tornado Christie Howard tied it up at 43-43 with 2:21 to play in the game as she stroked two free-throws, but QHS used clutch free throw shooting of their own down the stretch to claim the victory.
Quitman was led in scoring by Bonner's 21, while Mack finished with 12 points for the Lady Panthers.

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