Panthers capture region title as CF sweeps rival Conway

The Carolina Panthers boys basketball team capped a surprising regular season Friday night with the unlikeliest of titles – region champions.

Despite losing eight seniors off last year’s squad and being outmanned in the low post to their taller region rivals, the Panthers (16-6 overall, 6-2 Region VI-AAAA) clinched their first region title in three years with a 66-51 victory over visiting Conway.

The Panthers started out slow and led the Tigers by only a 29-26 margin at halftime, but they broke it open in the third quarter and rolled to the season sweep over their rivals.

Carolina Forest was led by Jarvez Homes’ game-high 19 points and Robert Gray’s 14, while Conway got a team-high 16 points from Jahriem Smith and 11 from Devin Strothers. The Tigers were eliminated from the postseason.

Carolina Forest, however, will continue its season in the first round of the Class AAAA playoffs on Wednesday when Spring Valley visits The Black Hole.

* Girls: Carolina Forest closed a disappointing season with a big win on Senior Night on Friday, defeating rival Conway 67-42.

Four Lady Panthers (11-12 overall, 3-5 region) scored in double figures to lead the season-ending victory. Marisa Runyon led the way with 14 points, Jackie Brengel and Whitney Burgess added 13 apiece and Britney Burgess tallied 11.

Neither team qualified for the Class AAAA playoffs. Carolina Forest needed South Florence to lose to West Florence on Friday but the Lady Bruins rallied for a 63-61 victory to claim the final playoff spot.

Photo by Chuck Silvey

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