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Portal seniors go out with a bang
Boys win big, girls lose a close one
Portal’s Mario Farris gets behind the Richmond Hill defense for a breakaway dunk in the third quarter Tuesday.
    PORTAL — The Portal Panthers didn’t exactly come out ready to play Tuesday night, but once they did, there was no denying them a win on Senior Night.
    Fred Williams scored 25 points and Marquan Jackson added 15 in Portal’s 73-29 shellacking of Richmond Hill in non-region action.
    The Panthers (18-7) outscored the visiting Wildcats 61-12 in the second and third quarters combined. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around the PHS student section was in full crunk mode.
     It was hard to believe the Panthers actually trailed 11-4 after one.
    “We just came out not ready to play at all,” said the point guard Jackson. “(Head coach Jeff Brannen) chewed us out so we had to come out in the second quarter and play.”
    The Panther starters were benched at the 5:58 mark of the first quarter and didn’t come back to the court until the start of the second. It was then that PHS went to a half-court trap which forced RHHS into turnover after turnover.
    Mario Farris capped a 9-2 run with two free throws to tie the score at 13 with 5:34 left in the half. The next five-and-a-half  minutes were not a pretty sight for the Wildcats.
    Richmond Hill would score just four points the rest of the half and Portal exploded for 20 to take a 33-17 lead. The Panthers scored every which way, from fastbreak alley-oops, to post-up jumpers, to ball movement 3s, to free throws. Portal shot 8-for-12 during the period and turned the ball over just once.
    The third quarter was more of the same as Portal forced 14 turnovers and Richmond Hill was held scoreless over a stretch of 5:25. Williams added 14 more and Jackson hit three straight 3s at one point. Williams scored all of his game-high 25 in the two middle quarters.
    The Panthers hit five 3s in the third and shot 12-for-18. Farris added a one-handed jam on a fastbreak to keep the Panther gym rocking.
    After the game, Jackson spoke about Senior Night.
    “Aww man, it’s sad,” said Jackson. “But we had to get out here on the court and do our thing.”
    Bobby McGrath led the Wildcats with nine points. Shane Reese added 10 for PHS  while Farris finished with seven points and five rebounds.
Lady Wildcats 44,
Lady Panthers 34
    It was pretty apparent Tuesday that the visiting Lady Wildcats of Richmond Hill were going to rely on the 3-pointer. Once they started falling, the Lady Panthers of Portal could never recover.
    Kala Heirs scored a game-high 20 points to lead RHHS to a 44-34 win, spoiling Senior Night for PHS (3-25).
    Richmond Hill went 1-for-7 from beyond the arc in the first quarter, but still managed to end the period on a 7-0 run to take a 9-6 lead.
    The Lady Wildcats would open the second on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 18-8. Heirs hit three of her five 3-pointers in the period before RHHS was held scoreless over the final 2:34 of the half. Both teams went 6-for-19 from the field and were in the double digits in turnovers.
    Richmond enjoyed a 13-point lead at one point in the third on Heirs’ fifth 3 with 2:47 left in the third before Portal made a late run in the fourth.
    Bridgett Oglesby sparked a late rally with eight fourth-quarter points, including two 3s, the final one with 1:10 left.
    “We lost the ball game on the free-throw line,” said PHS head coach Earl Donaldson, whose Panthers went 1-for-12 from the stripe. “We had some mental breakdowns there. But all in all I’m proud of the team. We made progress in every game that we played (this season).”
    The Lady Panthers showed a lot of fight despite the loss. Point guard Sacona Sheffield will be out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury and just seven Lady Panthers saw minutes Tuesday night.
    Tyler Carlson added nine points for RHHS while Kanesha Eason scored seven for PHS.
    The Wildcats shot 5-for-15 from 3 for the game
    Portal will begin region 3-A tournament play Wednesday in Savannah at Savannah Country Day. Its opponents are yet to be determined.