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Pirated victory!

Pirates steal away late to down PHS for 3rd place

The final score might not indicate it, but the Paola Panther Boys Basketball team made great strides Friday night in the third place game of the Paola Invitational Basketball Tournament. The Panthers played a tough, gritty game for three quarters against a good Piper Pirate team. In fact, the Panthers were within striking distance of their second victory of the season at the end of three quarters, trailing by just five points at 35-30, despite losing starting post man Travis Hayes to an injury in the first half.

“Play just like you played tonight, every game,” said Panther Head Coach Dave Cash after the game. “As long as we have that kind of effort, I’ll be happy.”

The Panthers played with intensity to open the game, Skylar Hawkins opened with a jumper to make the score 2-0 before Chase Cook hit a jumper and free throw for the Pirates to take a 3-2 lead.

Adam Henn and Hayes hit three pointers to open an 8-3 lead for the Panthers, before Jamal Jarrett hit a jumper to make the score 8-5. Johathan Pomatto hit a free throw before Jarrett and Robbie Mason hit jumpers to close the period with the Panthers leading 9-8.

Isaac Cotton and Michael Bryson kept the Panthers in the lead with jumpers early in the second quarter. Jarrett and Joel Wright hit back to back baskets to give the Pirates the lead again at 15-13, before Brandon Erisman tied the game again for the Panthers at 15-15.

The Pirates stretched the lead to five at 20-15 before Erisman hit a basket off a steal and Bryson hit a sweet reverse layup and a free throw to tie the score at 20-20. Cook hit a jumper and free throw to give the lead back to Piper as the half ended at 23-20.

Brint Hastert hit a jumper and Pomatto hit a three pointer early in the second half to cut the Pirate lead to one at 25-24. Piper went on a 7-0 run to open a 32-24 lead before Cotton hit two free throws for a 32-26 lead. Bryson and Henn hit jumpers down the stretch in the third quarter to leave the Pirate lead at five 35-30.

Cotton hit a basket to open the fourth quarter to cut the Piper lead to three at 35-32, it would be as close as the Panthers would get the rest of the way.

The Pirates went on an 18-2 run after the Cotton basket to put the game out of reach at 53-34. Cotton hit a free throw to stop the run, and the teams traded baskets down the stretch to the final 57-39 margin.

In the end, turnovers killed the Panthers, as they gave the ball up 24 times to the pressing defense of the Pirates, but overall the Panther coaches were pleased with the team’s effort.

“I’m very proud of the defensive effort tonight,” said Cash. “No matter what the finals score was, I saw good things out there tonight.”

The Panthers will be in action twice this week with home games against cross-county rival Osawatomie on Tuesday, followed by Gardner on Thursday.

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Cotton named to All-Tourney Team

Paola Panther Sophomore Isaac Cotton was named to the 2008 Panther Invitational All Tournament team. Cotton, averaged 12 points per game in the tournament, including a 21 point game in the Panthers opening round victory over Turner.

Cotton was joined on the all tournament team by DeOntae Hooks, Exavier Bass-Brooks and Jauan Wilson, of Harmon, Justin Ballcock and Michael Bricker of Eudora, Keaton Schaffer of Tonganoxie, Jamal Jarrett and Dwayne Smith of Piper, and Austin Lewis of Turner.

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