Blazers run over Panthers 89-51

For a while, it looked like the Paola Panther boys were going to get run out of the gym by the Gardner Trailblazers in action Thursday night, December 17, 2009 at Gardner. Then, it looked like the Panthers would hang with the talented Blazers and make a game of it, and then, just as quickly, it didn’t just look like the Panthers were in for a bad night, it became reality. In the end, the Panthers found themselves looking at an 89-51 blow out loss at the hands of Gardner.

WLH0276 The Panthers had no answer early for the Blazers, as Gardner jumped to a 9-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game. The Gardner run was stopped when Travis Hayes hit the second of two free throw attempts to make the score 9-1. Isaac Cotton got the Panthers two more points, hitting a field goal with 3:30 to play in the first quarter to make the score 9-3 if favor of the Blazers.

Corbin Haas got those two points right back for the Blazers to make the score 11-3, but just as quickly, the Panthers went on a 7-0 run on the strength of field goals by Cotton and Wilson and when Brandon Goodman nailed a three pointer from the top of the key, the Panthers were right back in the game trailing by only one point at 11-10.

It was like the Trailblazers had the Panthers right where they wanted them. A trey by Conner Langrehr and a bucket by Justice Berry sandwiched around two free throws by Travis Hayes gave the ‘Blazers a 16-12 first quarter lead. Whatever thoughts the Panthers had about playing with the Blazers went out the window as the second quarter opened, as the Panthers were unable to find the basket, and the Blazers were having little trouble scoring, and when Nick Wilson finally got the Panthers on the board with about five minutes to play in the half, the Blazers lead had swelled to 12 at 26-14.

"Gardner did a good job of disrupting what we wanted to do offensively," said Panthers Head Coach Dave Cash. "They turned out to be just too strong, quick and athletic for our guys to keep up with. But, we have to do a better job of executing on offense, better ball movement, and keeping better spacing while moving without the ball."

Things went from bad to worse the rest of the way to halftime, as Gardner outscored the Panthers 16-7 to double the Paola score as the teams went to the locker room, leading 42-21.

The good news for the Panthers as they took the floor for the third period was they were able to get offensive production from their bench players, as Conner Kresin came in to hit a three pointer midway through the half, and add a three pointer the old fashioned way late in the quarter. The bad news was that the ‘Blazers were showing no signs of letting up, and when the buzzer sounded at the end of the third quarter, the Panthers found themselves on the very short end of a 69-33 score.

WLH0288 "We didn't do a very good job of getting back defensively," Cash said. "But, a lot of that had to do with the fact that Gardner is very fast."

The final stanza wasn’t much better, the Panthers were able to hang with the Trailblazers, as Gardner put 20 on the board, to the Panthers 18, but this game was over long before the fourth quarter rolled around.

Travis Hayes lead the Panthers in scoring, hitting 16 points, he was the only Panther player to reach double figures on the night. Isaac Cotton nearly hit double figures scoring nine points in the game.

The Trailblazers were lead in scoring by Langrehr with 23 points on the night, Junior sensation Bubba Starling posted 18 points and Haas added 11 to round out the Blazer players in double figures.

"We know we have a lot of things to work on and we will continue to keep working on these things," Cash said. "The boys are not hanging their heads, they know we have a lot of work to do."

The Panthers get a couple of weeks off for the holiday break before returning to the hardwoods on Friday, January 8, 2010, as they take on the DeSoto Wildcats at the PHS Gymnasium. It will be the first home action for the boys team on the season.



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