LaGrange cruised by Huntingdon 89-74 in a USA South game Wednesday in Mariotti Gym. The Panthers upped their overall record to 10-8 and 3-4 in conference play.
The win was an important one for the Panthers' securing a spot in the conference tournament. Beginning with Saturday's game at Methodist, the Panthers will face five teams ahead of them in the standings over their last seven regular season games.
"This was a game we had to have if we wanted to continue our hopes of getting to the conference tournament," Coach Kendal Wallace said. "The guys came out and played well early in the game, building a 15-point lead, then continuing to do well after that point.
"I was wondering what team would show up for us, but evidently the guys were ready to play. I think they understand the direness of our situation right now with maybe not making the conference tournament. We've got to continue to win games and tonight was an opportunity we had to have."
The Panthers never trailed in the game. They used a 13-2 run in the first half to turn a four-point game into a 27-12 lead. LC had a season-high 14 3-pointers in the game, with its first 12 points coming off treys.
Huntingdon (2-15, 0-6 USA South) cut the deficit to seven, 32-25, with under three minutes left in the half. The Panthers pushed the lead back to 14 before taking a 44-33 halftime lead.
The Panthers continued to build on the lead in the second half. Travis Thompson's free throw gave LC its biggest lead, 78-49, with nine minutes left. From there, Wallace substituted freely the rest of the game.
After facing Methodist, the Panthers host Maryville and Piedmont on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4-5.