Lewis County Herald - Serving Hohenwald, Lewis County Tennessee Since 1898

By Jason Fite
Contributing Sports Writer 

LC Third Grade Basketball


The Lewis County Panthers 3rd Grade TVBA team travelled to Florence, Alabama and Rufus G. Hibbett Intermediate School to play in the first round of the Tennessee Valley Basketball Association’s Regional Tournament on Friday, February 25th against Muscle Shoals P-Trojans.

The Panthers began regional play against one of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama teams, the Muscle Shoals P-Trojans in the opening round of the regional tournament on opening night in Florence. Both teams got off to a fast start in a fast=paced opening half of action. Muscle Shoals began to pull away late in the opening half of the game to secure a 16-11 lead over the Panthers halftime. In the second half it was the Muscle Shoals boys that took control of the game, limiting opportunities for the Panthers on offense while continuing to add to their lead. Muscle Shoals took the opening-round win 32-16 and sending the Panthers into the losers’ bracket for the remainder of the regional tournament. Kanon McDonald led Lewis County in the loss with 5 points, Kayden O’Neal and Dominick James each had 4 points, Haven Ray added 2, and Cooper Johnston had 1 point.

The 3rd Grade Panthers would move on to play the 3rd Grade boys from Lawrence County in the first second round.


The Lewis County Panthers 3rd Grade TVBA traveled to Rufus G. Hibbitt Intermediate School on Saturday, February 26th for the second and third round of the Tennessee Valley Basketball Association’s Regional Tournament.

In their first game of the evening the Panthers faced Lawrence County (TN) in the first round of losers’ bracket play. Both Lewis County and Lawrence County struggled to get their offences on track in the opening half. The Panthers missed all attempts from the field in the first half, and were limited to only 2 free throws before the break. Lawrence County was unable to take advantage of the Panther struggles, as they were only able to score 4 to take a 4-2 lead into the break at halftime. Both teams picked up the pace in the second half. Lewis County would climb back into the game and, with only 6 seconds on the clock in regulation, Kayden O’Neal would come up with a basket to give the Panthers the lead late and seal the win 18-17. Kanon McDonald had 5 points to lead the Panthers, Kayden O’Neal and Dominick James 4 points each, Cooper Johnston 3 points, and Haven Ray 2 points.

With the win, Lewis County advanced to the third round with an hour break to face a second Muscle Shoals team, Muscle Shoals H-Trojans. The third round matchup was an evenly matched game, and both teams were on point in the first half. Lewis County secured a lead late in the opening period and held an 11-9 lead at half behind 9 first-half points from Haven Ray. Muscle Shoals would claw back in the second half and close the gap, but the Panthers were able to defend their lead and squeak out a 23-22 win. Haven Ray was high scorer for the Panthers with 13 points, Kanon McDonald and Kayden O’Neal added 4 points each, and Dominick James had 2 points.

With 2 big wins the Panthers advanced to the 4th round of the TVBA Regional Tournament.


The Lewis County Panthers 3rd Grade Panthers played in the final round of the 2022 TVBA Regional Tournament in Florence, Alabama for the opportunity to qualify for the TVBA Final Four after advancing through bracket play. The Panthers faced the Brooks White 3rd Grade boys from Killen, Alabama on Sunday, February 27th for a chance to advance to the Final Four.

The Panthers got off to a hot start in the first half of the game. Their defense held Brooks White to only 9 first half points while Kanon McDonald (6) and Haven Ray (4) helped the Panthers build a 14-9 lead as the teams reached the break at halftime. Brooks battled back in the second half as the Panthers found points hard to come by, being held to 6 points in the second. Brooks would outscore Lewis County 13-6 in the second half to secure a 2-point win, 22-20. Kanon McDonald led the Panthers with 10 points in the loss, Haven Ray added 6 points, Kayden O’Neal and Dominick James each had 2 points.

Despite the loss on Sunday, the 3rd Grade Panthers punched their ticket to play in the TVBA Final Four in the 3rd Grade Boys Middle Division as the #3 seed. Lewis County will face the #2 seed Deshler (AL) 3rd Grade boys in the semifinal game on Monday, March 7th at Muscle Shoals High School in Muscle Shaols, Alabama.


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