There was nothing easy about Sterlington's 79-68 road victory over Ferriday on Tuesday night in the District 2-2A opener for both teams.
Trailing the entire game, the Panthers fell behind by as many as 13 in the third quarter and were staring at a 51-43 deficit entering the final period. Furthermore, Brandon Douglas played the final 12 minutes with four fouls.
Yet somehow, the Panthers found a way to win. Then again, scoring 36 fourth quarter points is a near-foolproof formula in achieving a desired result.
“We were fortunate (Tuesday) night,” Sterlington coach Kevin Caballero said. “I'm not going to say we were lucky, but it was a lot closer than the score indicated. It would have been a long ride home from Ferriday in the rain after a loss. It was long enough as it was.”
Brandon Douglas scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half and Matt Allred made 9-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter to finish with 23. Bouncing back from a scoreless first half, Lance Richard buried four 3-pointers to finish with 16. Jaylon Wade provided a spark off the bench with eight points, including a pair of key trifectas in the fourth quarter.
Caballero says the Panthers' experience and challenging pre-district schedule made the difference against Ferriday (5-10).
“We've played a tough schedule and we've played a lot of games on the road,” Caballero said. “You could see that it helped us in the third and fourth quarter.”
As for the experience factor, Douglas, Allred, Richard and point guard Derek Price have all been fixtures in the starting lineup for the past three years.
“Without four seniors, we don't win this game,” Caballero said.
Continuing district play with a two-game homestand, the Panthers (16-6) are matched against Lakeside on Friday and Jonesboro-Hodge on Tuesday.