The Newberry Panthers varsity boys basketball team begins play on Thursday night in the Class 1A Regionals with a semifinal matchup against Madison County. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. Additionally, the winner of Thursday’s matchup faces the winner of the Hawthorne-Hilliard game.
No. 1 Seed for Newberry
After a 20-5 finish to the regular season and 1-1 record in the district tournament, the Panthers enter regional play as one of the two No. 1 seeds along with Jay High School, despite losing the 1A District 6 final to Hawthorne. However, head coach Patrick Green said the team did not have any doubt about making the tournament. Furthermore, Green explained it was rewarding to see their efforts earn them a top seed with an at-large bid.
As the team enters region play, Green explained they didn’t do the little things well against Hawthorne, which is what they want to focus on going forward.
Seniors Mike Moore and Mason Smith lead the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game and 11.7 points per game, respectively. However, Green said he’s been extremely impressed with the sophomores on his team. Sophomore Logan McCloud, who racked up 76 tackles and 17.0 tackles for loss for the Panthers’ football team, is third on the team with 8.2 points per game.
Madison County comes into Thursday’s game after a 15-5 regular season finish and 1-1 record in the 1A District 5 tournament. The Cowboys lost to Hilliard 63-49 in the district championship game. Overall, Green said the Cowboys are “ultra athletic,” especially at the guard position.
Boys Area Teams in Region Play
Joining Newberry in the Class 1A Regional Semifinals are Hawthorne, Chiefland and Williston. The Hornets face off against the 1A District 5 champion Hilliard. Meanwhile, Williston, winners of 1A District 7, hosts Chiefland.
In Class 3A Region 1, the P.K. Yonge hosts Florida State University High School after winning the 3A District 2 title. In Class 4A Region 2, No. 1 seed Santa Fe travels to Palm Bay. In Class 5A Region 1, Columbia (Lake City), the District 2 champions, hosts Pine Forest. No. 2 seed Gainesville hosts Forest (Ocala) in the 6A Regional Quarterfinals after winning 6A District 2.
All games tipoff Thursday night at 7 p.m.