Off to a 4-0 start in district play, the Sterlington Panthers play back-to-back home games against Jonesboro-Hodge on Thursday and Ferriday on Friday.
Assuming sole possession of first place in the District 2-2A standings, Sterlington notched road victories over Homer 72-62 on Friday, Jan. 18, and Lake Providence 71-41 on Tuesday night.
Matt Allred and Brandon Douglas carried the offensive load with 27 points apiece in the pivotal victory over Homer.
“Homer was a big road win for us,” coach Kevin Caballero said. “After we won at Ferriday, we felt like if we could get past Homer, the schedule kind of goes in our favor in the second round. The kids played their hearts out and got a big win. (The win over Homer) gives us the upper hand. We don't have to worry about somebody beating somebody else or depending on somebody to lose.”
Sterlington forged a 36-27 halftime lead. Despite playing without Douglas, who picked up his fourth foul with three minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Panthers widened the spread to 54-43.
“We went with five guards and kind of stretched it out until we could get Brandon back in,” Caballero said.
Returning to the lineup, Douglas made five-of-six free throws in the final quarter to help seal the victory.
Allred, who is shooting 79 percent from the line for the season, made 6-of-7 for the game. As a team, the Panthers made 21-of-32 (65.2 percent).
“We're not shooting at a clip where I would say, 'Boy, we're good at free throws,' but we are making the ones we need to make,” Caballero said. “We're missing some early, but late in the game, we've made them.”
Allred and Douglas received scoring support from Tevin Davis with six, DeAdrienne Glass and Jaylon Wade with four and Derek Price and Lance Richard with two.
Douglas scored 10 of his 22 points in the second quarter as Sterlington left Left Providence a 71-41 winner.
Sterlington was up 12-7 at the end of the first quarter and padded its lead to 33-16 at halftime and 57-25 after three.
Douglas was joined in the scoring by Davis with 12, Wade with 10, Richard with nine, Allred and Glass with five, Filip Duda with four, QuenTerrius Gray with two and Rex Spencer and Price with one. Kelton Campbell had 13 and Jahila Richardson 11 for Lake Providence.
Douglas is averaging a double-double for the season with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Allred is scoring at an 18.3 clip, while Richard is averaging 10 points per outing.
Home for back-to-back nights, the Panthers face Jonesboro-Hodge on Thursday in a makeup game and Ferriday on Friday night. Thursday's game starts at 6 p.m. with a JV boys game, followed by the varsity boys at approximately 7:15. On Friday night, the varsity girls get under way at 6 p.m., with the varsity boys game as the nightcap.
While the Panthers (19-6, 4-0) are in good position in the district race, Caballero cautioned that it's still early.
“We still have a lot of work to do with six games left,” Caballero said, “but luckily for us four of those six are at home.”