opening ceremony

From Top Row: Amaya, Annalise, Sarah, Ayanna, Neveyah, Kaelin Not Pictured: Sierra, Tara

The Lady Panthers headed down to sunny Orlando, FL to participate in the 2015 8th Grade AAU National Championships. We took a mix of 6th, 7th and 8th graders down to see how the ladies fared on the big stage.

From the opening ceremonies the ladies knew they would have to play hard as they seemingly walked through the land of giants. As normal fashion the Panthers team was a bit undersized compared to the majority of the teams there. It didn’t seem to worry them much because they know what they lack in height they certainly make up with heart and hustle. Opening ceremonies were awesome and were capped off by streamer cannons and some sweet dance moves by the Big Mouse On Campus, Mickey Mouse.

The tournament started out with 3 pool play games to get bracket rankings. The ladies worked their way to a 2nd place rank in pool play.

Pool Play Scoreboard

Date/time Opponent Result
Jul 13, 2015 (Mon)5:00pm at ALANA BEARDS MYSTICS W 46-29
Jul 14, 2015 (Tue)11:30am vs. Central Florida Elite 2019 W 55-37
Jul 14, 2015 (Tue)5:00pm at Mass Ducks L 48-55

The Panthers were flying high heading into bracket play with just a single loss to a tough Mass Ducks team and some very impressive wins over 2 Nike sponsored teams in the Mystics and Central Florida Elite. With the Panthers coming off a tough loss in their previous game it meant bad news for the South Georgia Angels. The ladies were back firing on all cylinders again and actually got up to a 26 point lead on the Angels at one point.

I don’t know if it was the fun and sun but the Semi-Final round was not one of the Panthers best performances. The team got into foul trouble early as the refs were calling a tight game. The normal full court defensive swarm had to be dialed down a bit which allowed the Garden Sparks team to continue to hang around. To add fuel to the fire the Lady Panthers had a whopping 27 turnovers going into the half. After the half the Ladies dug in and got back to playing Panther basketball and jumped out to a 13 point lead. Then some timely shooting and another appearance of the butterfinger bug allowed the Gardens Sparks to go up by 2 with 14 seconds left in the game. The Panthers use their final timeout and draw up a play to hopefully send us to overtime. That turnover bug showed it’s face again with a bad inbound pass which led to a foul to stop the clock on the other end of the floor. With 2 made free throws by the Sparks and now just 3 seconds left the game ends with a Panthers half court shot rimming out and the buzzer sounding. Not the ideal way we were looking to end the season but it was a great effort on all parts.

Bracket Play Scoreboard

Date/time Opponent Result
Jul 15, 2015 (Wed)10:00am vs. South GEORGIA ANGELS W 53-43
Jul 16, 2015 (Thu)10:00am at Gardens Sparks L 45-49

The Lady Panthers end the 2015 AAU season with a big finish in the Elite 8. Way to go girls! Looking forward to next season!

Check out some great PHOTOS from the event HERE: