Dahlonega, Georgia- The Union County Panthers traveled to Dahlonega to face the Lumpkin County Indians in a non region matchup. The Panthers are coming off a loss to Rabun County as it was their first game since December.
Both teams got off to a slow start offensively. The Indians got on the board first with a nice put back. Senior Chandler Pulley made hist first of many 3’s to put the Indians up 5-0 to start the game. Senior Kaston Hemphill made a deep 2 to get the Panthers on the board. Sophomore Eli Underwood would make a lay up to cut the lead 50 1, 5-4. The Panther defense was doing their job, but had a very tough time stopping Pulley from making 3’s. Senior Kaston Hemphill suffered to what looked to be a serious injury, and missed the rest of the game. Pulley made another 3 pointer to extend the lead to 7. The Indians made a layup as time expired to extend their lead to 9. The Panthers trailed 15-6 at the end of the 1st quarter.
To begin the second quarter, the Panthers had a good defensive possession and Underwood made a contested layup to cut the lead to 7. Junior Landon Kight had a steal and ran the court and made a contested layup to cut the lead to 5. Pulley came down and answered with another 3. The Panthers turned the ball over and the Indians answered quickly with a midrange jumper. The turnovers started to stack up for the Panthers as the Indians offense was capitalizing on them. The Panthers offense scored 4 quick points. Junior Eli Peugh made a nice full court pass to Freshman Caiden Tanner as he scored on a quick layup. The Indians extended their lead with another Pulley 3, his 5th of the game. After Underwood free throws, Pulley made another 3 to extend the Indian lead. The Panthers trailed the Indians 30-17 at halftime.
The Panthers started the second half with back to back turnovers right out of the gate. Pullley made his 7th 3 to extend the Indian lead. Junior Lake Hughes responded with a deep 3. Junior Caleb John scored on his first points of the game as he picked up 2 quick fouls to begin the game. The Panthers made the adjustment to face guard Pulley to limit his ability to shoot or get open. Hughes responded with another 3 after an Indian turnover. Pulley found a way to get open and responded with his 8th 3 pointer of the game. Hughes responded with another 3 to cut the lead back to 8. Kight found Payne on a nice backdoor cut as he made the layup to cut the lead to 6. After a Panther timeout, John hit a 3 pointer to cut the lead to 4. John picked up 2 quick fouls after his made 3. After another Indian turnover, Underwood responded with a nice layup to cut the lead to 2. The Panthers trailed 39-35 to end the 3rd quarter.
The Panthers began the fourth quarter with a mixup of Kight and Peugh and turned the ball over. Peugh got the rebound on a Indian miss and threw a great pass down to Underwood as he scored. Pulley quickly responded with a great layup. Another Panther turnover ended up as 2 more Indian points. Both teams turned the ball over twice but the Indians offense calmed down and scored another 3. As Junior Daniel Snow went up for a layup, the officials missed an obvious foul and Head Coach Corey Garrett let the officials know it as he was trying to protect his players. The official gave him 2 technicals and ejected him from the game with 4:31 left in the game. After the ejection, the officials called 2 quick fouls on the Indians. The Indians scored 4 quick points to extend their lead to 11. The Panthers picked up 6 quick points as they put pressure on the Indians and cut the lead to 3 with 18 seconds left. The Panthers ended the game with a Kight layup as tie ran out. The Panthers fall 56-54. The Panthers will be without Head Coach Corey Garrett for the next 2 games after being ejected. The Panthers travel to Banks County on Tuesday January 26th to face the Leopards @ 7:30