Ridgeland Panthers

In last year's Region 6-AAAA tournament, the Ridgeland Panthers beat the host Southeast Whitfield Raiders to secure a spot in the semifinals and earn the program's first state tournament berth since 2008.

Tuesday night back at Southeast, history repeated itself.

Despite losing twice to the Raiders in the regular season, the Panthers won when it counted the most as they knocked off the region tournament hosts again, 49-40, to earn a spot in the semifinals and, more importantly, punch a ticket to the Class 4A state tournament.

Ridgeland (6-16) trailed 23-20 at halftime and was down 30-29 to start the fourth quarter, but Eric Byrd and Fred Norman would put the Panthers on their backs in the final eight minutes.

Byrd scored nine of his 15 points in the final period, while Norman scored nine of his 16 points in the fourth, including going 7-of-11 at the foul line in the last stanza. Ridgeland would end up outscoring Southeast 20-10 in the fourth to pick up the victory.

Markeith Montgomery had nine points, while Christian Battle finished with seven.

Bryce Stanley had a team-high 10 points for the Raiders.

Ridgeland is scheduled to play top-seeded LaFayette in the semifinals on Thursday. Tip-off is set for 8:30 p.m. back at Southeast.