By Chad Dixon
Senior guard Stevie Pringle has been Smiths Station’s (16-6, 1-1) leader on and off the court throughout the 2017-2018 season. He had 20 points in their 57-53 win over the Auburn Tigers on Jan. 9 and scored 22 in a 64-54 win over Booker T. Washington on Jan. 12.
“He’s our guy! We go to him in a lot of our key situations. He is such a selfless teammate, like a lot of the players on our team,” said Smiths Station Head Coach Steven Davis. “He could probably have more points than he does because of how he passes a lot to get the rest of his team involved.”
Pringle started the win over the Golden Eagles with a three-pointer 33 seconds into the first quarter. Eric Butler added a three to extend the Panthers’ lead to 9-5 three minutes into the game. Pringle was a perfect two-for-two at the free throw line midway through the quarter to extend the lead to six for Smiths Station. The Panthers out-rebounded the Golden Eagles 6-2 in the first quarter and led 22-10 at the end of the first eight minutes.
Senior center Jaylen Madden had five first-half rebounds and finished with ten overall. He scored a pair of field goals to open the second quarter for the Panthers and scored ten in the game. Senior guard Kentray Mercer’s three-pointer late in the second quarter gave the Panthers a 30-17 advantage. Pringle closed the half with an offensive rebound and three points in the final 45 seconds of the half.
Smiths Station took a 35-21 lead into the third quarter. They primarily engaged in a three-point shooting contest in the first quarter, but began to drive to the basket in the second quarter.
“We have confidence that we can make the shots from outside, but we like to drive to the basket and get the other team in foul trouble, especially on the road,” Davis added.
The Panthers’ comfortable lead was reduced to seven with two minutes remaining in the third. Peanut Thomas scored three points to close the quarter and give Smiths Station a ten-point lead (46-36) entering the final quarter.
Pringle’s nine points and four rebounds in the fourth quarter helped the Panthers win 64-54. The Panthers now prepare to host Central on Jan. 19 at home. Central defeated the Panthers 83-51 on Jan. 5.
“I feel like we didn’t make the shots when we had open looks and lost the rebounding battle in that game,” Davis stated.
The Panthers and Red Devils re-match will take place at the Smiths Station High School gymnasium on Jan. 19 and the estimated tip-off is 8 p.m. ET.