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Gilbert drops 37 points in Lady Panthers victory

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

AMERICUS -- Before the second quarter began, Americus-Sumter girls basketball coach Evelyn Wright had one piece of advice for Jayme Gilbert.

"I told her she needed to make her free throws," Wright said, before adding: "She missed all four of them in the first quarter."

Gilbert responded by making the rest of her free throws. And she hardly missed anywhere else, either.

The junior scored 19 of the Lady Panthers' 24 second-quarter points, setting the tone for a 60-48 win against Dougherty on Tuesday night. Gilbert finished with 37 points.

"She was unstoppable," Lady Trojans coach Charlene Jackson said. "We knew it would begin (and with her)."

The Lady Panthers' victory not only ended a two-game losing streak, but it also was the result of a solid defensive performance, forcing 33 turnovers that led to 28 points. Meanwhile, Gilbert was often awaiting the ball for a layup. From the foul line, she also made 11-of-14 attempts during the second quarter.

"She did what she was supposed to do for us," Wright said. "But we also have some young players who we are just trying to get to jell."

Only one other Lady Panther, Tanyetta Hill, finished in double figures with 10 points.

Trailing, 9-6, after the first quarter, Wright's team increased its defensive pressure, using a diamond press and 1-3-1 defense, creating most of the Lady Panthers' steal opportunities and a 13-0 run that started the second quarter.

"I was just telling everybody we had to stay up once we were up," Gilbert said. "We played good defense, and everything else took care of itself."

A lot of what happened on offense was the result of Gilbert making it happen.

"I just wanted the ball back for our team," she said. "We had to keep pressuring them."

Dougherty, which had not played a game in two weeks, trailed by 11 (31-20) at halftime and were only down by eight (46-38) when the final quarter began. Jackson felt that was the one point she feels her team can build on.

"One thing I can say about (Tuesday) is they didn't stop hustling," Jackson said. "The season's still young and we're just trying to get better as a team."

Jessica Roberts led Dougherty with 15 points, followed by Tiara Todd with 14.