The Panthers (12-4, 3-3) held on to a 4-point halftime lead and cruised in the second half to take a 70-56 division win over Shannon on Tuesday night.
“It's amazing what happens once kids buy in. Once you get that monkey off your back and win the first big one, it's a lot easier to play through games like this,” Amory coach Rob Browning said.
The two teams took a 15-all tie into the second quarter. Amory opened up the period with a 5-0 run with Dario Robinson putting in a layup and hitting a 3-pointer on consecutive trips down the floor.
Alex Metcalf put in a two-point basket right before halftime to bring the Red Raiders to within 27-23 going into the break.
Shannon brought the lead back to within 4 with a minute left in the third on a 3-pointer from Zavier Jones before Jaylon Fair answered with a 3 of his own and stretched the lead back out.
Midway through the fourth, Amory stretched its lead out to 10 with two baskets from Robinson and another from Nick Beeks.
Robinson led all scorers with 27 points while Beeks and Fair were also in double figures, scoring 18 and 12 points.
Shannon also had three in double digits: Lakee Westbrook 20, Ben Riley 14 and Lamarcus Doss 11.
The win puts the Panthers just a game behind Shannon in division play, and a Red Raiders loss to Corinth on Jan. 29 would put them in a tie.
“We were missing a starter (Devin McIntosh). I thought our kids that hadn't played much made some big time plays, and hopefully it's a sign of things to come,” Browning said.
(G) Shannon 82, Amory 35: Alexandrea Metcalf led all scorers with 20 points. Kerina Harris finished with 12 for Amory.