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Batesburg-Leesville High School


Lady Panthers Undefeated In Region Play

By: Jay Hendrix


The Batesburg-Leesville varsity girls basketball team improved to 4-0 in Region 2-AA play with a 43-30 win over Fox Creek. The boys basketball team lost to Fox Creek and is now 0-4 in region play with Saluda up next. The Lady Panthers and Lady Tigers are both unbeaten with region supremacy on the line. The rest of region 2-AA consists of Abbeville, Fox Creek, Ninety Six and Silver Bluff.


The Lady Panthers, 7-4 overall, had to replace two great players from last year as Mylasia Gates and Sabrona Gantt graduated after averaging over 20 points apiece. This year’s edition is a more balanced attack as head coach Jessica Barr-Dennis stated “Unlike last year we had two scorers in Gantt and Gates. This year it hasn’t been just one player it has been all players. This year we have several players with 13, 12 and 10 points a night. I am really pleased with what we’ve done.”


The Panthers are led by senior Taleah Tolen and junior Jaylah Barr. Barr-Dennis added “they do a good job of motivating the players and telling them where they need to be and what they need to do.” In addition to Tolen and Barr the Panthers also have a starting lineup with Kenyana Morris, Kiara Burton and Ashanti Gilliam, all capable of providing solid play on both ends of the court.


Barr-Dennis also had praise for eighth grader Dyani Dennis. Barr-Dennis stated “she has really come along as an eighth grader. Last Tuesday she played the majority of the game against Fox Creek. She’s coming along. She does things that people don’t see eighth graders doing like passing unbelievably. I think she has finally caught on to what she’s supposed to be doing.”


Things have been difficult on the boy’s side. The Panthers opened the season with a win at Gilbert but have dropped to 1-13 overall and 0-4 in region play. The Panthers have led or been tied late in numerous games but haven’t been able to close out the contest.


A recent example of the Panthers struggles was at home against Ninety Six as the Wildcats built a 34-16 halftime lead. However, the Panthers dominated the third quarter by a margin of 21-5 behind the scoring of Wayman Gilliam and tied the game 39-39 early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats would then retake control of the game as they went on to win 57-47. Gilliam has been the Panthers leading scoring on the season with 15.5 ppg but has been on fire since the Chapin Christmas Tournament averaging 20.3 per game over the last six games.


The Panthers also have gotten good play from big man Darius Dennis as well as Keshoun Williams, Jenavas Williams and Shauntrel Hendrix. The Panthers will need a strong final three weeks if they hope to qualify for the Class AA playoffs.


© 2017 High School Sports Report

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