There haven’t been a large amount of postseason wins in the history of the Newberry boys basketball program.
But after Thursday night’s 55-41 win over visiting Madison County in a Region 3-1A semifinal, the Panthers find themselves one home win away from their first trip to the 1A state semifinals in Lakeland.
Newberry (22-6) took the lead from the start and never trailed against the Cowboys. Madison County, the 2019 1A state champion who had made the Final Four three of the last four years couldn’t overcome turnovers and Newberry’s defense.
“I thought the guys came out very energetic and ready to go,” Newberry coach Patrick Green said. “We had some stumbling blocks along the way and had to sit some guys due to some early foul trouble but got some help off the bench and it worked out alright.”
Newberry moved out to a 12-2 lead in the first five minutes and led Madison County 17-7 after the first eight minutes as sophomore Logan McCloud and freshman Juwan Scippio scored four points apiece.
Madison County continued to struggle offensively in the second period and the Panthers led 26-15 at the half. McCloud scored seven of his game-high 17 points in the second quarter.
“McCloud has that capability and we knew we could probably take advantage of the size against Madison County,” Green said. “I’m just pleased because the kid works hard. He’s one of those kids if I walk through the gym, he’s putting up free throws so I’m very happy for him.”
The Cowboys managed only eight points in the third quarter and Newberry was ahead 39-23 going into the final eight minutes.
Scippio hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the third period and hit four treys in a row in the second half to finish with 16 points for the Panthers.
Madison County picked up the offense in the final period, scoring 18 points, but the closest the Cowboys could get was 11 points.
Madison County (16-7) was led by sophomore Labron Lee with 10 points.
Next up for Newberry is a rematch with Hawthorne, who beat Hilliard 59-49 in the other Region 3-1A semifinal. Hawthorne beat Newberry, 48-47, a week ago to win the District 7-1A championship. This time Tuesday’s game in Newberry will be to advance to the Final Four in Lakeland.
“The rematch with Hawthorne is what we wanted,” Green said. “It’s obviously not going to be easy but the way those guys left us last time was enough motivation for my guys to advance.”
Thursday, Feb. 16
Class 6A-Region 1
2 Gainesville 76, 7 Forest (Ocala) 57
Class 5A-Region 1
3 Columbia (Lake City) 66, 6 Pine Forest (Pensacola) 52
Class 4A-Region 2
1 Santa Fe (Alachua) 61, 8 Palm Bay (Melbourne) 58
Class 3A-Region 1
2 FSU High (Tallahassee) 57, 7 P.K. Yonge 51
Class 1A-Region 3
1 Newberry 55, 4 Madison County 41
2 Hawthorne 59, 3 Hilliard 49
Class 1A-Region 4
2 Williston 59, 3 Chiefland 41