AMERICUS -- Americus-Sumter's Tyler Moore made it sound simple after his team's 66-54 win against Dougherty on Tuesday night.
"We talked about teamwork and getting the ball to our big men," he said.
There was enough teamwork for the Panthers to build a 17-3 lead, and enough opportunities for post players like Keldrick Cochran and Kyle Champion to finish with 14 points and nine points, respectively.
Moore, however, led the Panthers with 15 points, 13 of which were scored by third quarter's end. Champion and Cochran, in the first quarter alone, combined for 11 of Americus-Sumter's 22 points. Cochran even put an exclamation point on his night with a two-handed dunk with 1:07 left in the third quarter to give his team a 47-29 lead.
It was just the kind of
performance first-year Panthers coach Michael Coley was looking for.
"We were rotating on defense and just did the little things (Tuesday)," Coley said. "We played as a team, and at this point of the season, that's what I look for -- chances for us to get better. Team defense led to a lot of positive things for us. And underneath the basket, our post players grabbed the rebounds and made big plays inside."
The biggest boost, in Moore's mind, however, was that large first-quarter lead.
"It gave us momentum," Moore said. "And when you have momentum from a run like that, you want to keep up the intensity the entire game."
Deonte Fulks scored 11 for the Panthers.
Dougherty, on the other hand, played its first game in two weeks, but Trojans coach Donald Poole did not want to use that as an excuse for the loss.
"We've got to show up ready to play from the time the first quarter starts," Poole said. "We had a couple of letdowns on intensity. We have to learn how to keep that from happening."
Dougherty, despite the large margin it trailed by, tried to make a game of it behind freshman Josh Lewis, who made five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. He finished with a team-high 20 points.
"We had been waiting on him to get his shot back," Poole said. "Hopefully, he has it back."
Teammate Arabian Williams also scored in double figures for Dougherty with 12 points.