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Panthers Outlast Bobcats in Tight Sweet Sixteen Matchup

The Portal Panthers defeated the Early County Bobcats 54-50 in the second round of the state tournament on Saturday afternoon. They now advance to the Elite 8 of the state tournament taking on the Warren County Screaming Devils in Warrenton, Georgia on Wednesday, February 27th. The game will tip off at 6:00 P.M.

Portal- The Portal Panthers hosted the Early County Bobcats in the second round of the state playoffs on Wednesday afternoon. The Panthers came away with a narrow 54-50 win over the Bobcats.  This advanced them to Saturday action.

Poise Down the Stretch Helps Panthers Advance 

Portal had their closest game in a while on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers got critical defensive stops in the game's final minute to walk away with the victory. 

Watching the game was like watching two boxers trade body blows. When Portal went on runs and when you thought they would pull away, Early County would respond. 

Going into the 4th quarter with a 42-40 lead, the Panthers would go on a small run to get up by 6 going into the final 2 minutes. Early County would hit shots and force turnovers to go down by 2 with under a minute. The Bobcats had the ball on the sideline after a steal by Nate Tinson and a timeout. The Bobcats would throw an errant pass on the inbound, and Elijah Coleman came away with the steal. 4 free throws by Amir Jackson salted the win away for the Panthers. 

The 3rd quarter was the most stressful quarter of the season for Portal fans. The Panthers went into the half with a 32-24 lead, but an 8-0 run by the Bobcats late in the period led to them taking a 40-36 lead. Portal responded with a 6-0 run to close out the quarter to take back the lead. 

Everyone in attendance believed that the Panthers would break away from their opponents after the close first quarter. That has been the story with this team all season. And the story was going the way it usually does when Portal found themselves up 11 midway through the second quarter.  

Portal Head Coach, Jeff Brannen, knows that the competition is going to get better as the team goes deeper into the tournament. "I thought we gutted it out," Brannen said. "Defensively we did just enough to win the game. We got to get better its going to get tougher and tougher each round."

Elijah Coleman led all scorers in the game with 24 points in the game. He hit big shots all throughout the game to keep the Panthers in it. Coach Brannen is happy that is point guard is leading the way, but he calls for other players to step up. "We got to get everybody playing. He can't step his game up and everyone else back off." 

Joseph Thomas also poured in 17 points for Portal. 

Early County's Nate Tinson led his team in scoring with 14 points including 10 points in the second half. Jabril Lindsey scored a loud 14 points in the game. He hit a couple of deep 3s to quiet the Portal crowd. 


The Panthers advance to the Elite 8 of the state tournament. 

The Panthers will take on the Warren County Screaming Devils in Warrenton, Georgia on Wednesday, February 27th. The game will tip off at 6:00 P.M.