FLORENCE — For Quitman, all it took was one big quarter.
The Panthers scored 33 points in the second quarter to race past Richland 82-51 in the semifinals of the Region 5-4A division tournament at Florence on Thursday night.
Quitman (23-5) will face Florence for the district championship at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Regardless of the outcome, the Panthers clinched aClass 4A first-round home playoff game with the win on Tuesday.
Richland swept Quitman in the regular season, winning both games in overtime.
“Gameplan went in place. We looked to shake them up and do something we didn’t do the first two times we played,” said Quitman coach Chris Coleman. “We did everything but zone against them and it worked tonight. They all came together as a whole and were tenacious on defense.”
Quitman never trailed the entire game, and a big key was C.J. Keys.
Keys poured in a game-high 43 points to lead Quitman. He scored 31 points in the first half.
“C.J. Keys was fantastic. The guys refused to lose tonight, and I’m proud of them of how aggressive we were on defense,” Coleman said. “Main thing is we got a home game, and you don’t want to be on the road in the playoffs, especially in first round. We’ve got to stay hot, hungry and healthy.”
Keyshawn Johnson and Lamarius James each added eight points for Quitman.
Da’nay Johnson had 17 points to lead Richland (19-6), while Isaiah Patrick added 13 points for the Rangers. Richland will play Northeast Jones in the third place game at 5:30 p.m Friday.
QUITMAN GIRLS 37, NORTHEAST JONES 26
It wasn’t pretty, but head coach Jennie Vance will take it.
Behind a stingy defense, the Lady Panthers were able to get past the Lady Tigers in a low scoring affair Thursday night.
The Lady Panthers (14-14) will face Newton County for the district tournament championship at 7 p.m. Friday. Newton County beat Florence 37-24 in the first game of the day.
Regardless of the outcome, the Lady Panthers clinched a Class 4A first-round home playoff game on Monday.
“We got out to a rough start, and I feel like our two best players stepped up big time,” Vance said. “We changed our defense to man-to-man instead of zone and they couldn’t shoot anymore 3’s.”
Northeast Jones had the lead at 11-6 at the end of the first quarter.
After that, Quitman never trailed as they held to a 17-16 lead at halftime. The Lady Panthers held the Lady Tigers to five points in the second quarter, four points in the third and six in the fourth.
Iyonna Satcher had 13 points to lead the Lady Panthers, while Dacia Bostic added 12 points for Quitman.
“Those two girls lead us on and off the floor, and I cannot be more proud of them,” Vance said. “We’re excited to be able to host a playoff game, and not only on that but play for a championship.”
Autym Brashier had eight points to lead Northeast Jones (8-16). The Lady Tigers will face Florence in the third place game at 4 p.m. Friday.