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Panthers hang on; down Nevada 48-42

Once again the Paola Panther Boys basketball team proved that somewhere in their DNA lies a pretty good basketball team. For the better part of the first half, the Panthers showed what then can do when the play smart, fundamentally sound basketball. They showed what good, sharp crisp passing can do, what good cuts to the basket can produce and what tenacious, ball hawking defense can produce.

WLH0317 Sure, there were some not so bright moments, like what seemed like seven million turnovers in the first quarter, like only four points in the first two and a half minutes, but all the same, the first half was relatively fun to watch.

The second half, not so much, but in this kind of good news, bad news scenario, the bad news was the Panthers didn’t play a very pretty second half, but the good news was they had build a big enough lead in the first half that the Nevada Tigers and what seemed like a very favorable officiating crew could not overcome, and the escaped with a 48-42 victory.

“It was a win, and we’ll take them any way we can get them,” said Panthers Head Coach Dave Cash. “But we have to learn how to better handle these end of game situations.”

The Panthers were slow getting started, and once they got their opening possession jitters out of the way, when Paola turned the ball over on each of their first four possessions, they started to play a very efficient game, and closed the first quarter on a 11-5 run to open a 12-7 lead on the Tigers. The Panthers found numerous ways and players to put points on the board.

Isaac Cotton hit two field goals and a free throw, Nick Wilson hit a three pointer and Justin Dunmars and and Travis Hays each added baskets to produce the Panther advantage.

The teams traded baskets to the five minute mark in the first half, with Skylar Hawkins and Hays hitting for the Panthers to make the score 16-11, but from there, the Panthers went on a 14-5 run to finish the half and grab a comfortable 30-16 lead at the intermission. Wilson was the big gun in the last five minutes, hitting three field goals and adding two free throws in the stretch. Hays added a field goal, Conner Kresin hit a three pointer and Dunmars hit one of two free throws to help the Panthers build their lead.

“There were times in the first half that we looked like a pretty good basketball team,” Cash said. “But we have to play smarter, and we have to learn to focus and finish.”

For what ever reason, the Panthers came out of the locker room following the intermission and were flat. The Tigers went on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to just six points with less than two minutes gone in the quarter. But following a Panther time out, Hawkins nailed a three pointer and the Panther lead was back to nine points at 35-26.

A free throw by Brandon Goodman and a three pointer from Wilson pushed the lead back to double digits at 39-28 with four and a half minutes to play in the third period. From there the teams traded points and after all was said and done, and as poorly as the Panthers played in the third quarter, the Tigers had only cut four points off the Paola advantage, and the teams headed into the final eight minutes of play with the Panthers on top by a 44-34 score.

The less than stellar play continued out of both teams, and despite a 6-2 run, with about two and a half minutes to play in the game, the Panthers still had a 46-40 lead, and were managing to run time off the clock, no matter how unorthodox it was.

The Panthers still have some head scratching moment in them, and a prime example came with about two minutes to play in the game, with the Panthers clinging to the six point lead at 46-40.

As the Panthers continued to work the clock, trying to avoid double teams and traps, Hawkins found himself open from three point range with a little over two minutes to play. Instead of kicking the ball back out, resetting the offense and drawing a foul or running more time off the clock, he hoisted a three point attempt that clanged off the rim and was rebounded by Nevada. Earlier in the quarter Cotton had found himself in a similar situation, which ended with the same result. There was nothing really wrong with either shot, especially if they came in the first half, but in a tight ball game, playing with the lead, on the road, neither shot should have been taken.

The Panthers closed their scoring on two Goodman free throws, which were answered a short time later by two Nevada free throws, and the finals score stood at 48-42.

The Panthers were paced by Nick Wilson with game high 18 points on four field goals, two three point baskets and two free throws. No other Panther hit for double figures. Hays was the second leading scorer for the Panthers with eight. The Tigers were paced by Ferry with twelve points. The Panthers hit five three point baskets and went seven of 13 from the free throw line.

Paola will return home to host the Spring Hill Broncos on Friday, February 12, 2010 in a Frontier League game.

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Cotton

2

0

1

3

1

5

Dunmars

1

0

1

3

1

3

Hawkins

1

1

0

0

3

5

Goodman

0

1

3

4

0

6

Kresin

0

1

0

0

1

3

Hayes

4

0

0

1

5

8

Wilson

5

2

2

2

3

18

Smail

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

13

5

7

13

14

48

BOX SCORE

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Wolfe

3

0

2

2

3

8

Dobson

2

1

1

2

4

8

Banes

2

0

3

7

4

7

Munsterman

1

0

2

2

1

4

Beisner

1

0

1

2

2

3

Ferry

3

2

0

0

2

12

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

12

3

9

15

16

42

BOX SCORE

Team

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

F

Paola

12

18

14

4

30

Nevada

7

9

18

8

42

SCORE BY QUARTERS
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