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Panthers narrowly escape nailbiter against Harris County

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Panthers narrowly escape nailbiter against Harris County

Sophomore forward Barrett Hester attempts to block a shot. Good defense allowed the Panthers to narrowly defeat Fayette County 47-45.

Sophomore forward Barrett Hester attempts to block a shot. Good defense allowed the Panthers to narrowly defeat Fayette County 47-45.

Shelby Foster

Sophomore forward Barrett Hester attempts to block a shot. Good defense allowed the Panthers to narrowly defeat Fayette County 47-45.

Shelby Foster

Shelby Foster

Sophomore forward Barrett Hester attempts to block a shot. Good defense allowed the Panthers to narrowly defeat Fayette County 47-45.

Ben Barkley, Staff Writer

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On Jan. 23, the junior varsity Panthers came into the game against the Harris County Tigers on a three-game losing streak, struggling to play as a cohesive unit. The team finally came together in a 47-45 Panther win.

This game is the best game they’ve played as a team the whole season.”

— head coach Kerry Evert

“This game is the best game they’ve played as a team the whole season,” head coach Kerry Evert said.

From the opening tip, the Panthers showed that they could play despite their losing streak, jumping to an early 6-0 lead. Leading the charge was sophomore guard George Langham, who hit one of his four three-pointers for the game, but his and the team’s performance would not stick as the Tigers would answer back with six points of their own.

The Panthers ended the quarter with strength as sophomore forward Camden Sutherland scored four of his ten points for the game, putting the Panthers up 11-9.

As the second quarter got underway, the Panthers kept the energy that they had at the end of the first quarter, continuing to score and holding the Tigers off on the defensive end, highlighted by sophomore forward Sam Handel’s two steals.

Sophomore forward Beau Gardner also caught fire from beyond the arc, connecting on two three-pointers that would increase the lead for the Panthers to eight as they would go into halftime up 29-21.

“I was telling them [about the press], to get in the right positions, take care of the ball, and don’t panic,” Evert said.

The second half started with an adjustment from the Tigers. Noticing that the Panthers were getting by their defense all game long, the Tigers  decided to meet them at half court with a half-court press. The Panthers struggled against the press for the rest of the game, commiting sloppy passes and unnecessary turnovers.

Shelby Foster
A Panther guard drives through the Tiger defense. The Tigers half-court press caused struggles for the Panthers all game long.

When the Panthers could get by the Tiger press, they scored or got to the foul line. By the end of the third quarter, the Panthers moved their lead into double digits, 42-32.

The fourth quarter saw the Tigers start to mount a comeback. Their press plagued the Panther offense again, and the Tigers were starting to score points off of lazy turnovers.

Luckily, the Panthers continued to play hard defense to make up for the lackluster display on offense. In the final seconds of the game, sophomore guard Trevor Phalen fell out of bounds, giving possession to Harris County with 6.1 seconds remaining in the game. When Harris County got the ball, they missed on a three-pointer as time expired, giving the Panthers a narrow 47-45 victory.

“The game was great,” Sutherland said. “We played as a team and got the job done.”

Prior to the boys’ game the JV girls also played host to Harris County, losing in a blowout 50-19.

JV teams finished their seasons on Jan. 26 against Fayette County High School.  Both squads lost with the girls falling 30-20 and the boys losing 64-57.

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