The Smiths Station basketball team had a roller-coaster ride of a season. The Panthers hit a seven-game losing streak in the first half of December but went on a 7-5 winning streak during late December/early January. The Panthers started Area 4 hot by going 2-0 against Auburn and Central but could not maintain the lead and would drop the next two games to both teams. The Panthers ended the season with a 10-15 record and 2-2 in Area 4 play.
The win/loss record doesn’t show it but seven of the losses Smiths Station has had this year were by 10 points or fewer and that was a result of not playing a full game of basketball effectively. The Panthers always played three solid periods but always had one period that they couldn’t get the ball moving.
Auburn High school won home court advantage for the Area 4 tournament which was decided on a coin toss. Smiths Station had to face-off with Central last Thursday in Auburn for a winner take all second-place spot. The Panthers could not find their early January magic and dropped their final game of the 2019-2020 season to Central 55-46.
The first half found the Panthers only down 31-26 at the end of the half. The third period ended with both teams scoring 13-13 points in the period and the fourth period started with the Panthers down 42-39. In the fourth period the Panthers stalled being outscored 13-7 to drop the final game to the Devils. There was a stretch of about two minutes at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth periods the Panthers could not find the basket and started to let the close game slip away.
Smiths Station had multiple turnovers and penalties throughout the game. Central was 11 for 24 from the free-throw line.
The Central offense was carried by Jerrell Bellamy who had 20 points. Apart from failing to stop Bellamy from finding the net the Smiths Station defense held everyone else from Central under double-digit scoring in the game.
The Panther offense was led by brothers Donovan Pearman who finished with 18 points and Devyn Pearman who had nine points.
Putting this season behind them, Smiths Station will have a lot of returning players for next year coming back to the team. The amount of inexperience the Panthers had this year hurt them when it came to playing a complete game of basketball for all four periods and battling to the end of close scoring games. Four of the five starters were juniors and underclassmen with only one senior starting this year. Of the players to look forward to will be Donovan Pearman and Viczavious Madden who were the scoring leaders for the team this year and will step in a leadership role during their senior season. Ahmari Peabody and Devyn Pearman will be important to the Panther offense next year as well.
“If they commit to getting in the weight room to get stronger and want to be a better basketball player, we should be okay next year,” coach Steven Davis said on the factors his team needs to start on this offseason to have a successful 2020-2021 season.