FLORENCE — Behind a big third quarter along with the stellar play of Devin Carter, Florence raced past Quitman 70-47 in a key Region 5-4A battle of unbeaten teams in Friday evening prep basketball action.
“Devin was having one of those nights where he couldn’t miss,” Florence coach Darrin Chancellor said. “He’s playing with a chip on his shoulder, but the team is playing with a lot of energy, a lot of effort and we need to stay on that course.”
The Eagles (10-0, 2-0 Region 5-4A) never trailed the entire game. Florence jumped out to a 19-3 lead midway through the first quarter and finished the opening period leading 22-8. Carter had 13 points in the frame.
Midway through the second quarter, with Florence leading 28-15, Quitman went on a 12-1 run to cut the Eagle lead down to 29-27.
Florence ended the first half on a 10-4 run to take a 38-31 lead at halftime.
The third quarter was the difference in the game, as the Eagles outscored the Panthers 21-4 and sealed the contest.
Carter, along with Jaylan McNair, scored the first 13 points of the quarter to extend the Florence lead to 51-31.
“First quarter, we jumped out on them, and in the second quarter we made too many turnovers, and they capitalized on them,” Chancellor said. “We contained (Chris Keys Jr.) and didn’t let him get comfortable, and we were able to get turnovers that led to points.”
Carter, who will participate in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star game in March, finished with a game-high 36 points to lead Florence. McNair added 18 points, and Kevon Hines had 10 points for the Eagles.
“Coach told us we just had to come out and fight and play with intensity,” Carter said. “Big thing for us is staying focus and staying the course and getting better. We’ve been so close to winning a state championship the last couple years, and we trying to get over the hump.”
Keys, who will also participate in the All-Star game in March, had 19 points to lead Quitman (6-1, 1-1).
“We had absolutely no answer for Devin Carter tonight. He was amazing,” Quitman coach Chris Coleman said. “Our guards are not tough enough and didn’t stay within the game plan. We just have to move on and get ready for Richland.”
Both teams continue Region 5-4A play on Tuesday as Florence travels to Newton County, while Quitman hosts Richland.
QUITMAN GIRLS 43, FLORENCE 29
Dacia Bostic had a game-high 21 points as the Lady Panthers (5-2, 2-0 Region 5-4A) got past the Lady Eagles (10-6, 1-1).