On a night when it wasn't playing its best, Sterlington was able to grind out a 53-41 road victory over Lakeside on Tuesday night.
Sterlington (22-6, 7-0) led the entire game, but was unable to put the game away until the final minute.
Up 24-16, the Panthers carried a 36-26 lead into the final period. Sterlington, which has been lights out from the free throw line in clutch situations most of the season, missed 10 free throws in the fourth quarter.
In contrast to Tuesday's game, the Panthers bolted out to a 23-6 first quarter lead en route to a lopsided 77-35 win over the Warriors on Jan. 11 at Sterlington.
“It was a win,” Sterlington coach Kevin Caballero said. “We did just enough to win.”
Caballero wasn't complaining, though. After all, the bus ride back home seemed considerably shorter than last year when the Panthers left Sibley with a disappointing loss.
“That's what I told the kids after the game,” Caballero said, referring to the Panthers' previous trip to Lakeside. “We didn't shoot the ball well over there last year and we couldn't make any shots Tuesday night.”
Brandon Douglas paced the Panthers with 15 points, Lance Richard had 10 and Matt Allred nine.
Playing at home on back-to-back nights late last week, the Panthers defeated Jonesboro-Hodge 57-41 on Thursday and trounced Ferriday 69-33 on Friday.
Against Ferriday, Allred scored 10 of his 14 points in the first quarter as the Panthers built a 22-7 first quarter margin. Sterlington had the game in hand by halftime, leading 37-11, before carrying a 66-18 bulge into the final frame.
Douglas was high scorer for the Panthers with 20 points, while Richard and Jaylon Wade pitched in 13 apiece. Derek Price added six, Filip Duda two and DeAdrienne Glass one to round out the scoring.
Brandon Scott provided the bulk of the Trojans' offense with 16 points.
Tevin Davis led a quartet of Panthers in double figures against Jonesboro-Hodge in a makeup game from the Jan. 15 ice storm.
Sterlington led at the end of every quarter — 15-8, 32-17 and 44-20.
Davis was complemented in the Panthers' scoring by Douglas with 13, Richard with 12, Allred with 11, Glass and QuenTerrius Gray with two apiece and Edgar Haynes with one.
Caballero is expecting a tougher challenge from the Tigers when the two teams meet again Friday night in Jonesboro.
“Jonesboro-Hodge is the defending district champ,” Caballero said. “I've been telling the kids, 'Don't think they aren't going to try to knock you off.' We have to bring it.”