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Comeback denied

Trojans hold off Panther come back in Sub-State game

WLH0028 The Paola Panther Boys played true to form in the opening round of the Sub-State Tournament, as they fell to the Osawatomie Trojans 52-47 at Osawatomie Monday night. The Panthers once again played tough, falling behind by as many as 13 points in the third quarter, only to scratch and claw their way back into the game, cutting the deficit to just one point half way through the fourth quarter, only to see the Trojans hang on for the five point victory.

“Don’t let one game ruin what you’ve done this year,” Panther Head Coach Dave Cash told his team after the game. “Give Osawatomie credit, we knew they were a good team.”

Both teams broke out quickly in the game, the teams trading baskets through most of the first quarter, neither team scored back to back baskets until Brint Hastert and Brandon Erisman hit baskets, to tie the score and give the Panthers their first, and only lead of the game at 12-10. The Trojans grabbed the lead back on the strength of three pointers by Brandon Oaks and Seth Jones.

The Panthers pulled back to within two points at 16-14 to open the second quarter on a basket by Isaac Cotton. But the Panthers would soon find themselves in a big hole though, as the Trojans went on a 10-0 run fueled by six points from Travis Marsh, and two each from Soucie and Jones. Adam Henn broke the Trojan run with a three pointer to cut the lead to nine, but Soucie and Oaks combined for six points which were answered by baskets from Erisman and Michael Bryson, and the Panthers trailed by eleven at the half 32-21.

Coming out of the halftime break, Jonathan Pomatto cut the Trojan lead to nine, but Soucie with give the Trojans their biggest lead of the game with four points, and it could have been worse, as he missed three free throw attempts during the same stretch. Nick Wilson and Jones traded baskets and with two and a half minutes to play in the third quarter the Trojans matched their fourteen point lead at 39-25, prompting the Panthers to call time out.

“We just dug too big of a hole,” Cash said. “We scratched and clawed and fought our way back, but we just didn’t get it done.”

After the time out, Travis Hayes began the Panther comeback, hitting back to back three pointers and then Brint Hastert hit a basket to cut the Trojan lead to just six with one minute to play in the quarter. Neither team would score during the rest of the quarter and the teams entered the fourth period with the Trojans leading 39-33.

The fourth quarter started with Cotton hitting a free throw, Bryson nailing a three pointer and Pomatto hitting a basket around a Jones basket and a Soucie free throw and the Panthers had cut the lead in half at 42-39 causing the Trojans to call time out with five and a half minutes to play in the game.

WLH0033 After the time out Hastert hit a free throw and Jacob Vail hit a basket to give the Trojans a four point advantage, but Bryson converted a three point play to bring the Panthers to within one point at 44-43, it would be as close as the Panthers would come. Oakes hit two free throws and Dylon Needham added one more an the Trojan lead was back to four at 47-43. Hayes had an opportunity to cut the lead back to one as he hit a basket and was fouled, but was unable to convert the free throw and the Trojan lead was still two points at 47-45. Hayes fouled out with 1:13 to play in the game, but Vail was unable to convert the free throws and the lead remained four. Seconds later the Panthers again had a chance to cut the lead to two, but Bryson missed both of his free throw attempts and the lead remained at four. Soucie gave the Trojans a six point advantage with just over one minute to play in the game as he hit two free throws to make the score 49-45. Oakes hit a basket and Jones hit a free throw sandwiched around an Erisman basket to make the final score 52-47.

“I feel bad that we lost the game,” Cash said. “But I can’t be disappointed on the season as a whole.”

Cash went on to compliment his seniors for their leadership and hard work on the season.

“Seniors, you have lead by example,” Cash said. “You have been unselfish and have done a nice job. You younger kids, you have a lot of work to do.”