Panthers outlast Bulldogs, 38-31, in bruising battle

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The Alba-Golden Panthers fought back from an eight-point deficit in the final five minutes to overcome the Quitman Bulldogs 38-31 in a District 12-3A Wood County rivalry game. The Panthers were perfect on their final eight free throws to keep the Bulldogs at bay and secure the win.

Alba-Golden took an early 8-5 lead in the first quarter on a pair of three point shots by Shawn Davis and Tom Mitchell and were up 10-6 after one period of play. In the second quarter Quitman’s Josh Medlin hit a three-pointer to make it a 15-15 game but Shuttlesworth hit a bucket before the buzzer to make it a 17-15 Panther lead at the half.

In the fourth quarter, a three-point shot by Quitman’s Jace Reid gave the Bulldogs their first lead since the opening minutes of the game at 29-21 with 5:55 left in the game. The Panthers responded by slowly chipping away at the Bulldogs’ lead. Free throws by Shawn Davis and Zane Smith cut the lead to 29-24. Dawson Kirk hit a free throw and a jump shot making it 29-27.

After Quitman missed a shot, it was Alba-Golden senior point guard, Mike Hartin, hitting a clutch three to give the Panthers the lead for good at 30-29.

Dyllon Shuttlesworth made a pair of free throws giving Alba-Golden a 32-29 lead but Quitman’s Trey Berry drove the lane for a bucket cutting it to 32-31. After Quitman missed a pair of free throws the Panthers forced the Bulldogs into a fouling spree the rest of the way as the final minutes turned in to a free throw contest.

From that point, Smith hit two free throws and Hartin put in the final four free throws to give the Panthers the win.

For Quitman, Garrett Peek had eight points, Kalen Wilkerson seven, Berry six, Reid five and Medlin five each. For the game the Panthers hit 15-26 free throws while Quitman was 5-14.

Quitman falls to 0-3 in District 12-3A play while the Panthers move to 1-1 with their first disctrict win.

Quitman’s next game is at home Friday hosting Mineola. Alba-Golden will host Grand Saline Friday. Both games are scheduled to tip off at 8 p.m.

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