Lady Panthers hold off Lady Bulldogs

It was another border battle night Jan. 4 when Cumberland Gap and Claiborne High got after it on the hardwood. The first game was the Lady Bulldogs and the visiting Lady Panthers. As soon as the teams tipped it off there was an atmosphere that only rivalry games provide.

Sarah Fultz got the scoring started and Abbie Fultz responded. Jaden Thompson for CHS and Tabitha Roy for CGHS got baskets and a fast pace was established early. The Lady Panthers went on a run that caused Claiborne to call a time out at 13-4. Macie Sumner stopped the run with a basket at 3:07 and was playing tough defense along with Kelsey Munsey. Sumner scored again and pulled CHS to within four points. A three pointer by Maytaya Ausmus gave her team a 19-13 lead after one period.

Skylar Cook got CHS to within four again at 5:25 but Emma Brooks broke the Panthers scoring drought, making the score 21-15. The Lady Panthers took a 26-18 lead into the locker room.

Coming out of the break, Claiborne got to within six points but Hannah Heath hit a big three that quickly took away the Lady Bulldogs’ momentum. Emma Beason countered with a three and narrowed the score back down to six at 29-23. Claiborne added a basket and made it a four point game, causing the Lady Panthers to get a time out. Four quick points by CHS tied the game at 29. Roy got the Panthers back ahead but CHS countered.

After three periods the game was tied at 31. Brooks scored and then Hinckley hit a three to give the visitors a five point lead. Abbie Fultz added two more and the Panthers had a seven point lead. Beason hit four fast points to keep the Lady Bulldogs close but the Panthers looked like they were wanting it more and stayed comfortably out front. Claiborne struggled to get back on defense and looked tired as the seconds ticked away.

Sumner forced a turnover and Beason went to the stripe but didn’t drop any down the cylinder. Sumner hit one making it a six point game but both teams turned the ball over and Fultz made it a four point game at 47-43. Roy went to the line and missed. CHS had a chance to draw closer and failed but had a second chance but missed it as well and the game ended 47-43 with the visitors taking the win. Claiborne had tried a bold comeback but just fell short.

Dennis Cline spoke of his team, “I am very proud of them. We started the game great and executed very well. Tabitha and Hannah set the tone early but Emma Brooks played her best game so far. We made the plays at the end when we needed but at times it was not pretty. We played well enough to get the job done.”

Leading the Lady Panthers in scoring was Kayli Hinckley with 13, Brooks had nine, Heath and Abbie Fultz had eight, Roy had six and Maytaya Ausmus had three to round out the scoring. Sumner had 13 to lead CHS, Fultz had 10, Beason had nine, Skylar Cook and Jaden Thompson both had four and Kaylee Cox finished with three points.