The Smyrna Middle Panthers opened up their season this week at home in front of a large and loud crowd and took a twin bill from the Central Magnet Tigers.
Smyrna coach Kelan Flowers has a fine looking squad with good size and quickness.
They played some 2-3 zone and also man-to-man defense in the 30-10 win. They also rebounded well and ran a good full-court press most of the night.
Even with these advantages, the Lady Panthers led only 12-5 at halftime, but won the second half 18-5.
Point guard Erika Lillard ran a good offense, which was anchored by a number of players who looked poised for a good season. I really liked the play of Canoace Gaines (11 points) and Caitlyn Moore (7 points).
Coach Jennifer Jones brings lots of experience and enthusiasm to her Central Magnet squad.
Despite the fact that Central is undersized, there’s good reason for the enthusiasm. Her team hustles, and Jones got some solid effort from Sydney Smith (5 points), McKenzie Cummins and Lauren Gattie.
Nerves and turnovers were evident on opening night but the effort was there and good days are on the way for both teams.
In the boys game, coach Don Bloonfield’s Central Magnet team jumped to a 7-2 first quarter lead but quickly saw it melt away, and they trailed at the half 16-8 before losing 42-25.
The Tigers have possibilities, and I was impressed with their 2-3 zone and overall hustle and effort. Leading the Central scoring were Baughn Cooper with nine points and Coby Grubbs with seven.
Coach Bill Hockenberry has a very competitive team of Panthers, and it made a real difference when he went from the zone to man defense and then a full-court press.
The Panthers have good size and quickness and they hustle, which is typical of Smyrna Middle.
Just like in the girls game, nerves likely contributed to poor shot selection and numerous turnovers.
Point guard Brendan Moore ran a solid offense especially in the middle two quarters, while the scoring was led by Perry Whitaker (11 points), Princeton Fant (9 points) and Taylor Cunningham (6 points).
Oakland Middle is at Smyrna on Monday and Blackman Middle visits Central Magnet.
Check out the Murfreesboro Post each Thursday for Middle School scores and complete schedules plus other features.