Later in the day, Chapel Hill’s boys had to settle for a moral victory, trailing by as many as 15 points before getting within four late in an eventual 63-52 loss to Newnan.
In the girls’ game, Kaneisha Mixon and Erica Jones both shot 55 percent from the field as the Lady Panthers took a 27-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Mixon hit four of her six shots in the first quarter en route to a team-high 15 points. Jones sank 5-of-6 from the field in the first, including two 3-pointers, and went on to finish with 14 points. Earnicia Washington also topped double digits with 12 points for Chapel Hill, which improved to 3-0 with the win.
“Any time you play a good team like that, you want to be able to jump on them and jump on them quickly,” said Lady Panthers coach Scott Long.
Chapel Hill scored the first 18 points of the game, with at least 10 coming off Newnan turnovers. Mixon and Jones combined to put up the first 14 points for the Lady Panthers and Washington added a fast-break layup to give Chapel Hill a 16-0 lead with 2:25 to play in the first.
“All three stepped up and played huge,” Long said. “That’s our big three.”
Chapel Hill led 38-13 at the half and 54-23 after three periods. Long pulled most of his starters for a mercy-rule shortened six-minute fourth period with the game in hand.
In the boys’ game, the Panthers (0-3) got within four points three different times in the fourth quarter only to watch as Newnan pulled away with a 17-10 run down the stretch.
“When you see where we’ve been in the first two regular season games so far this season, it’s a big step forward,” said Chapel Hill boys coach Lee Wilson. “The execution was better. We still had a lot of turnovers. But in all honesty, we didn’t turn it over as much as we have in previous games.”
Senior guard Jamarius Turner, Chapel Hill’s only returning starter and the team captain, kept the Panthers in the game.
"J.T. understands the difference between a good shot and a bad shot and he values the basketball," Wilson said. "He’s a good all-around player."
Turner’s putback at the five-minute mark capped a 7-0 run by the Panthers to make it 46-42.
After a Newnan jumper put the Cougars back up by six, Efe Balfour sank two from the line with 4:07 to get Chapel Hill back within four at 48-44.
Newnan scored five of the next seven points before Turner’s 3-pointer from the left corner got the Panthers back within four at 53-49 with 1:45 left.
But 20 seconds later, Newnan’s Tae Parks was fouled on a layup and sank the free throw to finish the three-point play and the Cougars were 5-of-6 from the line in the last minute to douse Chapel Hill’s comeback hopes. Daniel Dean’s dunk with 16 seconds left put the finishing touches on the win for Newnan.
Turner led Chapel Hill with 16 points. Rico Flemister was next with eight points and Devin Gooden finished with seven. Dean led the Cougars with 23 points.