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Top-seeded CDS knocks off Portal

    MILLEN — The Portal girls caught fire just as the postseason rolled around, but midnight finally struck on their Cinderella run.
    The Lady Panthers defeated Jenkins County on Monday in a Region 3-A tournament play-in game, then notched another win over Wheeler County Tuesday in the second round.
    That streak came to screeching halt Wednesday afternoon as Calvary Day took a 22-2 lead after just one quarter of play before cruising to a 64-23 win.
    “There’s not much to say other than Calvary Day is a very good basketball team,” Portal coach Cliff Hubbard said. “We got behind early and (Calvary) just kept us down and pulled away. That’s what good teams can do.”
    The Panthers (11-15) suffered a pair of big losses to the Cavaliers (22-3) during the regular season, but Calvary Day saved its most impressive showing for the postseason.
    Calvary’s Alexis Parker led all scorers with 23 and she was joined in double digit scoring by teammates Abigail Lewis and Olivia Harrell.
    Constant pressure from the Cavaliers proved to be Portal’s undoing.
    The teams traded buckets in the early minutes of the game, but the Panthers wilted when Calvary set up its pressing and trapping game. Time after time, the Panthers inbounded after a Calvary basket only to be stripped of the ball before they were able to get past midcourt.
    After scoring on its second possession of the game, Portal went over 10 minutes without a point before a bucket by Breyonna Raymond. In between, the Cavaliers launched a 22-0 run.
    The Panthers are out of contention for a region championship, but still have a chance to make the state playoff field. In previous seasons, only the final four teams remaining in the region tournament would make the state tournament, but this year’s split between public and private schools in Class A have left a power poll in charge of filling out brackets once region champions have been crowned.
    Coming into the week, Portal was one spot outside of the field. Monday and Tuesday’s wins will help the Panthers’ cause, but there is nothing to do except wait until the final poll is released next week.
    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.