Fatigued freshmen Panthers fall to crosstown foe McIntosh

A+player+on+the+freshmen+basketball+team+dribbles+up+the+court+while+keeping+two+McIntosh+players+away+from+the+ball.+The+team+started+out+strong+but+eventually+lost+the+game+due+to+weak+defense+and+a+loss+in+momentum.+

Lilly Carter

A player on the freshmen basketball team dribbles up the court while keeping two McIntosh players away from the ball. The team started out strong but eventually lost the game due to weak defense and a loss in momentum.

Dana Gould, A&E co-Editor

On Tuesday night, the freshmen boys’ basketball team suffered their first loss of the season to crosstown rival McIntosh 50-42. The two teams seemed evenly matched as they traded buckets back and forth all night, but the visiting Chiefs pulled away in the final four minutes of the game.

“My best teams and my favorite teams as a coach are years when I have twelve guys and all of them can play, all of them can score, all of them rebound, and all of them are part of the team,” head coach Taylor Sweeney said. “Even the couple tonight that may not have scored helped us out some other way.”

Brandon Allison proved to be a key player in the team’s early success as he scored nine points for the team, with only one of those being the result of a free-throw. However, as the game continued, the Panthers lost their momentum as a strong Chief defense overpowered the Panthers.

“We were up and [then we] played bad defense [giving McIntosh] a couple of open shots, [and] credit to them they knocked them down,” Sweeney said. “All of the sudden we [were] down three to four points with a couple of minutes left and [time] got away from us.”

The game opened with multiple scores on both sides of the court, leaving the teams relatively evenly matched. Throughout the first half of the game there was a back-and-forth pattern between the two teams as one team consecutively scored two or three times. The other team then countered with two or three scores of their own, providing a constant cycle of one team surpassing the other, resulting in a tie at the end of the opening quarter.

Our team just started getting tired, we started leaving more people open, and [McIntosh] were hitting their shots.”

— Freshman Brandon Allison

As the game entered the second quarter, it was more of the same as the team’s continued their back-and-forth pattern. By the end of this quarter, the game was still close, but the Panthers were up 26-23 at the half.

The evenly matched trend continued through the third quarter.  After another seven minutes of play, the Panthers retained a slim lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Panthers went into the last quarter strong, keeping their advantage through the first half of the quarter. However, with four minutes left in the game, the Chiefs rebounded and tied the game at 38.

“Our team just started getting tired, we started leaving more people open, and [McIntosh] were hitting their shots,” Brandon Allison said.

The fatigued Panther team lost all of the momentum and morale they had carried into the fourth quarter. With less than two minutes left on the clock, the previously calm game turned much more aggressive and physical as the Panthers were down 44-40 and both teams were desperate to bring home a win. The Panther could not compete with the Chiefs’ strength and aggression. The game resulted in a 50-42 win in favor of the Chiefs.

The Panthers may have faced a loss overall, but they stuck to playing team ball with ten of the twelve players scoring throughout the game. The Chiefs, on the other end, relied more heavily on a small number of their players as only six people scored throughout the duration of the game.

“Not playing good defense is unacceptable, but we’ll work on it. We are freshmen [so] we make mistakes. That’s why I have them and that’s why we practice every morning — to get better,” Sweeney said. “We’ll get back to work and hopefully, [when we see McIntosh again] we’ll have a little better outcome.”

The 9th grade Panthers play their next game against the Whitewater Wildcats at 6 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Whitewater High School.