Magnet Cove Panthers earn seasonal basketball honors for 2019-2020

Magnet Cove junior Levi Horton takes the ball towards the basket for the Panthers during the 2019-2020 basketball season.Magnet Cove sophomore Jace Beckwith jumps for the tipoff during a Panthers’ game during the 2019-2020 basketball season.Magnet Cove sophomore Evin Ashcraft dribbles around an England defender during a Panthers’ game during the 2019-2020 basketball season.Magnet Cove sophomore Owen Tillery goes up for a shot during a Panthers’ game during the 2019-2020 basketball season.
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

Four members of the Magnet Cove Panthers senior high basketball team earned seasonal accolades for the 2019-2020 season. Junior Levi Horton earned 2A-5 All-Conference honors and the trio of sophomores Owen Tillery, Jace Beckwith and Evin Ashcraft received 2A-5 All-Conference Honorable Mention honors.
Magnet Cove Panthers basketball head coach Matt Williamson was proud of these four hoopsters who receive special recognition to represent the conference and Magnet Cove’s senior high boys basketball program.
Despite the Panthers falling short to qualify to compete at regionals, Williamson thought they had an awesome season. He thought the players really bought into their system and competed well during a tough conference and non-conference schedule. The Panthers were young this past season, but the underclassmen competed well with the experienced seniors to battle tough against high-quality teams in the 2A Classification.
“It was an awesome season for kids to buy in. We played a tough non-conference schedule, as well as, being so young and graduated seven seniors last year. Our record didn’t really reflect how well we did this season. Played the two-time state champion England lions down to the wire both times,” Williamson said.
The Panthers lost to England in double overtime at home and lost by three points on the road at England’s place, Williamson stated.
“We had chances to win both games,” he added. “Being young you expect growing pain but this group was so resilient. We just couldn’t get over the hump a lot of games, but was right there to give ourselves a chance.”
Williamson really looks forward to next season and stays hopeful that things go back to normal with the outbreak of the COVID-19, (coronavirus) having a major effect nationwide. He knows the entire nation is going through a tough time now, but is in prayer for his players’ health and everyone affected by the virus.
“I just pray everyone is being safe and God bless us all as we fight to get through this situation under control. As for my players, I love you guys and can’t wait to see you back on the court,” Williamson said.
The Panthers anticipate to return for the 2020-2021 basketball season with high expectations to have a productive year on the hardwood. Williamson will have a variety of quality players and hopes the chemistry will stand out strong to develop as a unique caliber team in the state for Class 2A.
“Next year the exception is high in that we have a lot of really good players going to be a hard time for me as a coach making decisions on different lineups and when and how to sub. A great problem to have once again, as long as, we have total buy-in— I feel we can be successful,” Williamson said.
The Panthers finished the 2019-2020 basketball season 9-19 overall, and fourth in conference with a 7-7 record in league standings.