Cotton leads Panthers past Burlington

The Paola Panther Boys Basketball Team used a huge game from Isaac Cotton and put three other players in double figures as they bounced back from a lackluster performance the night before to take the seventh place game in the Burlington Invitational Tournament over the host school by a 61-49 count on Saturday, January 23, 2010.

WLH0217 After a wasted effort on Friday night, in a game they should have won, one had to wonder how the Panthers would respond, and respond they did, using big second and fourth quarters, the Panthers send the host Burlington Wildcats home with their third straight loss in this years event.

“We came back Saturday and played pretty good,” said Panthers Head Coach Dave Cash. “I thought we dealt with some adversity throughout last week, but for the most part the boys handled it well.”

Cotton just kept getting better trough the game, as he hit four points in the first quarter, six in the second, seven and in the third and eight in the fourth to lead the Panthers in scoring he was one of three from three point range, 10 of 16 from the floor and two for two from the free throw line on the night. In addition he grabbed six rebounds, had two steals and two assists to go along with two fouls. It was by far the junior’s most complete game of the season.

After shooting zero free throws in the Panthers opening round loss to the Rossville Bulldogs, the Panthers went to the line with a vengeance in this game, and made them count, going 18-26 for 69%. The Panthers scored five of their 11 first quarter points from the line with Cotton, Justin Dunmars, Skylar Hawkins and Anthony West all hitting charity tosses in the quarter. Cotton, Hawkins and Travis Hayes all made field goals in the period.

After trailing by two points at the end of the first quarter, the Panthers used a 19-13 second quarter advantage to take a four point 30-26 halftime lead. Cotton and Hawkins did all most of the damage in the second quarter, as each erupted for three field goals good for six points. Jobie Debrick added four points with a field goal and two for two from the line, and Conner Kresin got into the scoring action by nailing a three pointer for the Panthers.

The Bulldogs were consistent through the first two quarters, hitting 13 points in each Mackenzie Redding pace Burlington in the first quarter with three field goals for six points, Dustin Bluma hit six points for the Bulldogs in the second quarter on two field goals and two free throws.

Burlington was able to pull to within two points at the end of the third quarter, by again hitting 13 points in the period compared to 11 for the Panthers. Points were a little harder to come by in the third quarter, as Cotton again lead the Panthers with seven points on two field goals and a three pointer, Hayes got back into the scoring column with a field goal and two free throws for Paola.

After letting the Bulldogs close to within two as the final period began, the Panthers went back to work and on the strength of Cotton’s hot hand from the field and Hayes and Kresin from the line, pulled away for the 12 point victory by outscoring Burlington 20-10 in the final eight minutes. Cotton hit four field goals in the quarter, and Kresin added seven points on a trey ball and four of four from the free throw line. Hayes hit four of six from the line and Hawkins added a single free throw to tally the Panthers 20 points in the period.

The Panthers went 9-12 for 75% from the line in the fourth quarter. In addition to Cotton’s 25 points, Hawkins, Kresin and Hayes scored 10 points each on the evening. Kresin was 4-4 from the line and Hayes was 6-8 from the charity stripe. The Panthers grabbed 26 rebounds as a team, had 10 steals against 10 turnovers and 19 assists on the evening. The only downers in the statistics were that the Panthers grabbed only nine offensive rebounds while putting up 50 shots from the field, and they were whisteld for 22 fouls. No Panther fouled out of the game, but Dunmars, Kresin and Hayes all had four fouls on the night.

It was the second straight game the Panthes played without the services of Nick Wilson and Brandon Goodman, and Cash hopes to get both players back in the lineup soon.

The Panthers return home next week as they will take on Osage City on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 and then host Eudora on Friday, January 29, 2010 in the annual homecoming game.