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Panthers rain treys on 'Cats for win

Wow! The Paola Panther boys put together the best quarter of basketball they have played in recent memory in the third quarter of their game against the DeSoto Wildcats on Tuesday night, February 2, 2010 in the PHS Gym. The Panthers rained three point baskets on the Wildcats, erasing a six point halftime deficit to open an 11 point lead at the end of the quarter and then hung on for a thrilling 63-62 victory.

“There was a spark in that gym that we haven’t seen in a long time,” said Panthers Head Coach Dave Cash. “We played hard, played smart and had fun, that’s two wins in a row, and there’s no reason why it can’t be three.”

WLH00361 The Panthers hit six of eight from three point range in the third period, tallying more points in the quarter than they did in the entire first half and outscoring the Wildcats 27-10 in the quarter to erase their six point halftime lead.

But the Wildcats were not going to go quietly, as they opened the fourth quarter on a 17-2 run in the first four and half minutes to re-take the lead before the Panthers stopped the bleeding and pulled out the victory.

This looked to be a difficult game for the Panthers, as the Wildcats featured a starting front line of 6’5”, 6’4” and 6’7” and right from the start, the Panthers were giving up size on the front line. The Wildcats took advantage for their height advantage to jump to a 6-2 lead, but the Panthers fought back to tie the game on back to back baskets by Nick Wilson and Isaac Cotton.

From there the teams traded baskets before the Wildcats went on a 6-0 run to open a 16-11 lead following a Panther turnover with just over a minute to play in the quarter. Cotton pulled the Panthers back to within two with a three point play, and then missed an opportunity to grab the lead as he missed a three point attempt at the buzzer.

The Wildcats opened the second quarter on an 8-3 run to open the lead back up to seven points with five minutes to play in the half, but Justin Dunmars hit a basket and Isaac Cotton hit two free throws after being fouled on a break away after a steal to cut the lead to three at 24-21. Hayes hit two free throws sandwiched between baskets by Aaron Nutterfield to keep the Wildcats in the lead at 28-23.

Cotton again pulled the Panthers back to within two at 28-26 wit a three pointer, but the Wildcats closed the half on a 4-0 run on baskets by Paul Stallbaumer and Nutterfield, and as the teams headed to the locker room at the intermission, the ‘Cat lead stood at 32-26.

The Wildcats pushed the lead to eight at 38-26 on a basket by Nutterfield, and then something magical happened. It started innocently enough, as Cotton got open behind the arc and buried a three pointer. A short time later Conner Kresin found the range again from three point range and the Wildcat lead had shrunk to two at 34-32. Joey Johnson stopped the run temporarily with a bucket after a DeSoto timeout with just under seven minutes to play in the quarter.

Travis Hayes made it three for three from three point range a short time later and the Panthers were within one at 36-35. Hayes scored again on a layup to give the Panthers the lead for the first time since early in the game at 37-36 with five and a half minutes to play in the quarter, forcing the Wildcats to call their second time out of the quarter.

Daniel Peterson gave the Wildcats the lead after the time out with a jumper, but Brandon Goodman kept the three point barrage going with another trey to put the Panthers up by two at 40-38. Johnson tied the game at 54 all with a jumper just before Cotton hit another three pointer to give the Panthers a 43-40 lead. At this point, the Panthers had hit five of six from three point range in the quarter. Skylar Hawkins kept the three point run going, this time on a steal, basket and free throw to give the Panthers a six point lead with three and a half minute to play, and force the Wildcats to burn their final timeout of the game.

The Panthers weren’t done with their three point magic, as Hayes buried his second trey of the quarter to give Paola a 49-40 lead before Jeff Bowen stopped the Panther run with two free throws, but Nick Wilson put the Panthers up by double digits as the quarter ended hitting back to back baskets to make the score 53-42. The Panthers outscored DeSoto 27-10 in the quarter, tallying one point more in the quarter than they scored in the first half.

“That was the best basketball you’ve played all year long in the third quarter,” Cash told his team after the game. “And the reason you hit those shots, was because they were on balance, you made good passes and got open for good shots.”

The Wildcats showed they were not going to go quietly, as they opened the fourth quarter on a 15-2 run to pull regain the lead at 57-55 lead with three and a half minutes to play in the game. To the Panthers credit, they did not panic, settled down and righted the ship. Hayes hit a shot under the basket and Cotton got fouled on a layup and the Panthers were back in the lead for good at 59-57 with two and a half minutes to play. Cotton missed the free throw, but Hayes hit a short jumper and Goodman hit a layup off a steal and the Panthers were up by six again at 63-57 with just over a minute to play.

The six point lead was almost not enough, as Johnson hit a jumper with 54 seconds to play and the Panther lead was four at 63-59. Hawkins had two opportunities to put the game away, but was unable to convert the front end of two one and one situations. The first came with just over 30 seconds to play, and just before Brandon Philbrook nailed a long three pointer to cut the lead to one at 63-62. A foul by Johnson with four seconds to play put Hawkins back on the line, but he was again unable to hit the front end of the one and one, but the Wildcats were unable to get a shot off and the Panthers had closed out the 63-62 victory.

“We made too many turnovers in the last four to five minutes,” Cash said. “There was a five possession run in the fourth quarter where we took five or six points off the clock, but we settled down and stopped their run.”

The Panthers were lead in scoring by Isaac Cotton with 20 points and Travis Hayes added 17 points for Paola. The Panthers were 10 of 15 from the free throw line, but were 0-3 in the fourth quarter, all coming in the last two and a half minutes of the game. Paola hit seven three pointers in the game, with six coming in the third quarter.

The Wildcats were lead in scoring by Nutterfield with 20 points, Philbrook added 12 and Johnson 10. The Wildcats hit eight of 12 free throws and hit only two three pointers, both by Philbrook and both in the fourth quarter.

The victory was the boys fifth of the season against eight losses, but moved them to 3-0 in the Frontier League. The Panthers will put their two game win streak on the line on Friday when they travel to Ottawa to take on the Cyclones. The Panthers dropped a 19 point, 59-40 contest to Ottawa in Paola in early January.

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Cotton

4

3

3

5

0

20

Dunmars

2

0

1

2

1

5

Hawkins

2

0

1

2

4

5

Goodman

1

1

2

2

0

7

Kresin

0

1

0

0

1

3

Hayes

4

2

3

4

3

17

Wilson

3

0

0

0

3

6

Smail

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

16

7

10

15

13

63

BOX SCORE

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Peterson

4

0

0

1

3

8

Burford

0

0

2

2

4

2

Stallbaumer

2

0

0

0

0

4

Bowne

1

0

2

2

1

4

Williams

0

0

2

2

2

2

Philbrook

3

2

0

0

1

12

Umholtz

0

0

0

0

1

0

Nutterfield

9

0

2

5

1

20

Johnson

5

0

0

0

0

10

TOTAL

24

2

8

12

17

62

BOX SCORE

Team

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

F

Paola

14

12

27

10

63

DeSoto

16

16

10

20

62

SCORE BY QUARTERS
Player
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