By Hailey Hurst and Megan Smith
Newberry High gymnasium was filled with an uplifted crowd on Thursday night. The Panthers faced Madison County Cowboys for a Regional Semi-Final Basketball game, taking home a well-earned 55-41 win.
“We are enjoying this win tonight for 24 hours but we will be back at work tomorrow.” – Coach Patrick Green
As the regional semi-finals game got underway Thursday night, Newberry and Madison County each had six losses. Although Newberry was coming off an upsetting district finals loss, the Panthers got off to a quick start offensively; however, the starters were having a bit of an issue with personal fouls. Even after early frustration with the officiates, the Panthers dominated with a tight lead of 17-9. Few seconds remained as Senior Mason Smith closed out the first quarter with a 2-pointer.
The Panther’s lead continued to grow in the second quarter. Right from the start, Newberry’s tight defense caused two turnovers in the first two minutes. This continued throughout the quarter as their defensive strategies prevented the Cowboys from making plays offensively. They held the Cowboys to 15 points.
Sophomore Logan McCloud was the leading scorer in the first half with 11 points. Once again, Senior Mason Smith had a nasty layup with six seconds remaining to close the quarter 26-15.
Newberry continued to dominate in the second half and kept a double-digit lead the rest of the game. Freshman Juwan Scippio showed off his outside shooting skills and scored four three-point shots this half. Madison County Cowboys finished the game out hot, outscoring Newberry in the fourth quarter. The crowd matched the energy on the court as both teams continuously went back and forth putting in an effort to steal the ball and score. Even after the Cowboys held multiple possessions, it was not enough to close the score deficit.
Mason Smith helped lead his team to victory with his leadership skills. Not only dominating defensively with multiple steals, but offensively he took initiative at charging for a lay-up and providing assists to his teammates.
When asked which player stood out the most tonight, Coach Green speaks on behalf of Mason mentioning, “That kid played the entire game… regardless of points… that kid was giving his all.”
The leading scorers were sophomore Logan McCloud with 17 points, followed by freshman Juwan Scippio with 16.
On Tuesday, February 21, the Newberry Panthers will play in the Regional Finals at home. The team looks forward to a rematch with the Hawthorne Hornets after their district loss earlier this week. Coach Green has high hopes for the Panthers to take home a regional win.