Jags claw past Carver Panthers, advance to Sweet 16

On Nov. 16, Cedar Shoals’ football team traveled to Lakewood Stadium, right outside of Atlanta, to face off against the Carver Panthers in the first round of the 5-A GHSA playoffs. Getting dominated 36-12, the Panthers didn’t put up much of a fight as the Jaguars triumphed to enter the second round of the playoffs. 

The Shoals’ basketball team (25-3) hosted Carver-Atlanta (15-13) last Saturday at Turner-Neathery Gymnasium for the first round of the 5-A playoffs. The Panthers didn’t sharpen their claws for this match either as the Jaguars trounced them 72-47. 

“{It) was really no pressure,” said Cedar head coach L’Dreco Thomas on what he told his players going into the game. “We’ll do what we’re supposed to do and keep it consistent for four quarters.”

Senior forward Quincy Canty set the tone early for the Jags, sinking two back-to-back unanswered three pointers right off the bat. 

“I realized that the guy on my side didn’t really pay attention to the man and ball, so I knew that if I went to my corner, I knew I was going to hit it regardless if it was contested or not,” said Canty, who finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds. 

Canty’s momentum led Cedar to a 19-9 score following the first quarter, but it was Tyler “Chip” Johnson’s athletic presence that put the Jaguars on top 34-20 at half. 

“Just trying to get the win, and respect to Kobe’s mentality,” said Johnson about his 17 points and 5 rebounds in the first half. 

The dynamic duo proved to be too much for the Panthers after the break, with Canty sinking 5-5 shots for 10 points followed by Johnson’s 5 points and 4 rebounds in the third quarter alone. 

“They weren’t very fundamental on defense so we had to take advantage of their defensive lapses,” said Canty. 

Johnson finished the game with a double-double, 25 points and 12 rebounds. 

“It’s how you work around the basket, you gotta get yourself in good position for a better chance of getting the rebound,” said Johnson explaining how he’s ascendant in the post only standing at 6-1. 

Aside from their impressive outing, the pair gained attention this week for announcing their long awaited collegiate commitment after the game: Johnson and Canty elected to stay together and plan to sign with the University of South Carolina Aiken.  

The Jaguars’ memorable season has yet to finish its tale. They travel 4 hours south to Jesup, Georgia to battle the Yellow Jackets of Wayne County (16-12) in the second round of the playoffs tonight at 6:30. 

The Jackets’ record is deceiving compared to their current hot streak. They’ve won their last 6 games and upset the highly respected Statesboro Blue Devils (22-7) to win the region championship. 

“It’s only going to get harder and as we progress into the state playoffs,” said Canty. “Nobody is going to take us lightly and they’re going to come at us the same way we’re coming to them.” 

Touting a 7-1 true road record along with nine active seniors on the roster, Cedar is familiar with this position. 

“It’s going to be on the road in a hostile environment,” said Thomas. “We hope to go down and get a good win.”