Watching the Alba-Golden Lady Panthers play basketball is a lesson in team quickness. What makes their quickness so effective is not simply the physical attributes of speed and reaction, but the anticipation of where to position themselves. Time and again in action against the Quitman Lady Bulldogs, the Lady Panthers were able to create a turnover by being in the right place to make a play.
Many of those turnovers converted to points. Alba-Golden secured a playoff spot with a 55-34 victory Feb.1 at Quitman’s Delbert Ballard Memorial Gymnasium.
Buoyed by pre-game Senior Night celebrations, Quitman started strong. Senior Madalyn Spears chased down a long offensive rebound, drove the lane and found fellow senior Utopia Henry to open the scoring. Henry dominated the early boards.
With the score tied 4-4 halfway through the opening quarter, Alba-Golden took control. A short drive by Lizzie Hallman, and two nice scoring drives by Ashlyn Rogers put the Lady Panthers up 11-4 at the quarter break.
The first quarter was marred by excessive turnovers. Quitman could simply not handle the Alba-Golden defensive pressure and committed 12 turnovers in the quarter, while Alba-Golden committed eight turnovers in their offensive zone. Most Lady Panther turnovers were errant pass attempts to get the ball inside to the post.
Behind relentless defensive pressure and productive guard play, the Lady Panthers systematically extended their lead to 18-4. Alba-Golden’s Rodgers, Sammy Rambsel and Grace Bizzell contributed to this run. Excellent ball movement exposed the seams in the Quitman zone defense and opened driving lanes.
mitted only a single turnover in the second quarter, and took an overall 19-15 rebounding advantage. The timing, court awareness and quickness of the Lady Panther squad really showed itself in the second quarter.
Alba-Golden continued apace in the second half building a 35–8 lead thanks to the efforts of Destiny Parker, Bizzell and Hallman. Quitman battled back with a short run courtesy of buckets by Spears and Lucy Brannon, but Alba-Golden’s relentless pressure and creative offensive effort were too much to overcome. Bizzell’s 3-pointer made the score 41-16 near the quarter break.
The final quarter was predictably loose and fast. The officials appeared to swallow their whistles at the start of the fourth quarter, but found them again in time to prevent things from getting out of hand. Alba-Golden enjoyed a 25-point margin but played as if the score was tied. The final quarter was full of hustling, spirited play by both teams.
In the end, the Lady Panthers recorded a 55-34 win and will be looking forward to their final district game against Grand Saline and bi-district playoff competition. The Lady Bulldogs were scheduled to play their season finale against Mineola on Tuesday, Feb. 5.