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Panthers survive 30 by Vander Tuig

It’s amazing how nice it feels when just about everything goes right for a team. The Paola Panther Boys Basketball team had one of those nights Tuesday, February 16, 2010, as they downed the Baldwin Bulldogs 64-53 in Paola.

Now, it wasn’t easy, in fact, the Panthers had to overcome several bumps in the road on the way to their nine point win, but for every road block the Panthers encountered, they were able to navigate the detour, and get back on the road with a minimum of damage.

WLH0226 “That was a nice win,” said Panthers Head Coach Dave Cash. “We can do better, but that was a nice way to bounce back after last Friday.”

Doing things better and overcoming obstacles along the way can be best pointed out with a couple of facts.

First, the Panthers jumped to a quick 7-0 lead on the strength of a Travis Hayes three pointer and two nearly identical Isaac Cotton jumpers and with just barely a minute off the clock, the Bulldogs were calling time out to stop the momentum.

And stop it they did, going on a 12-0 run to take a 12-7 lead over the next four minutes. But the Panthers survived this early punch in the stomach, and clawed their way back into the game, regaining the lead at 19-18 about half way through the second quarter. From there the Panthers slowly started to pull away from the Bulldogs, eventually opening double digit leads in the second half.

Secondly, the Panthers again withstood a monster game from the Bulldogs 6’9” post Justin Vander Tuig. The junior torched the Panthers a month ago for 21 points in the Panthers 52-36 victory in Baldwin. On this night he was even better, pouring in 30 of the Bulldogs 53 points to lead all scorers.

But again the Panthers had an answer, as the Paola post players, Hayes and Nick Wilson hit 16 and 14 points respectively, to match the Baldwin big man point for point. Where the Panthers overcame the Vander Tuig onslaught was in the big night of Isaac Cotton, who hit at team high 18 points.

But maybe the most impressive statistic of the night was the Panthers free throw shooting, as they hit 20 of 25 from the charity line, including 13 of 15 in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. And the most impressive part of that statistic was the free throw shooting of Justin Dunmars. The six foot sophomore has struggled at the line, and that’s being charitable, but on this night, he was downright stellar. Dunmars didn’t start out well, missing his first two attempts in the second quarter, but when the game was on the line, he steadied himself and hit five of six in the fourth quarter.

“After I was zero for everything is the last game I knew I had to do something,” Dunmars said. “So last Saturday I went to the gym and worked on free throws for over an hour.”

The extra time worked, and those free throws helped hold the Bulldogs at bay during the final eight minutes.

After the opening runs by both teams in the first half, the Panthers were able to pull back to a two point deficit at the end of the first quarter at 12-10. The Bulldogs pushed their lead to four a couple of times in the second quarter, but Wilson put the Panthers back in the lead with at pair of free throws and a three point play and with about four minutes to play in the half, the Panthers were back in front at 19-18.

The Bulldogs pulled back on top on a short jumper by, who else, Vander Tuig, but Wilson put the Panthers back in the lead for good in the first half with a three pointer at 22-20. Brandon Goodman hit two free throws and Wilson hit another trey and the Panthers had built another seven point lead. Vander Tuig pulled the Bulldogs back to within three points as the half came to a close with two more jumpers and as the team headed to the locker room at the intermission, the Panthers held a slim 27-24 lead.

Vander Tuig opened the second half with four more points to put the Bulldogs back in front at 28-27, but Cotton put the Panthers back in front at 30-28 with a three pointer before Vander Tuig tied the score at 30 with another short jumper.

Cotton again answered with a three pointer, followed by a Dunmars layup and a Hayes three point play and suddenly the Panthers were again sporting an eight point lead at 38-30. During that eight point run, Vander Tuig proved he was human, by missing two free throws.

The Panthers were able to maintain their lead through the rest of the third quarter, and as the teams headed to the final eight minutes, Paola had doubled their halftime lead, holding a 45-39 advantage.

Paola slowly increased their lead, and after two Cotton free throws and another Hayes three point play, the Panther lead stood at 11 points, 52-41. The Bulldogs were not done, as they promptly outscored the Panthers 7-2 over the next two and a half minutes to pull to within six at 54-48, but again it was Dunmars who stopped the run with a pair of free throws and the Panthers were again up by eight a 56-48.

The Panthers scored their last eight points from the free throw line on eight of 10 shooting to outscore the Bulldogs 8-5 in the all important final two minutes to take the nine point, 64-53 victory.

“That was a good win, and we’re 4-2 in the league with two games to play against Louisburg and Gardner,” Cash told his team after the game. “Beating a team twice in a season is very tough, but we’ve got to continue to get better.”

The Panthers were paced by Cotton with 18 points, followed by Hayes with 16 and Wilson with 14. Dunmars added nine for Paola. Vander Tuig lead all scorers with 30 points, no other Baldwin player hit for double figures.

The Panthers will hit the road for their final road trip of the regular season on Friday, February 19, 2010 as they will take on the Louisburg Wildcats, before playing in a rare Monday night game on February 22 at home against the Anderson County Bulldogs, and then will close out the regular season by hosting Bubba Starling and the Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers on senior night on Friday, February 26, 2010.

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Cotton

5

2

2

2

3

18

Dunmars

2

0

5

8

2

9

Hawkins

1

0

0

0

0

2

Goodman

0

0

5

6

3

5

Kresin

0

0

0

0

2

0

Hayes

3

2

4

4

4

16

Wilson

2

2

4

5

1

14

Smail

0

0

0

0

0

0

West

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

13

6

20

25

15

64

BOX SCORE

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Pattrick

0

1

0

0

4

3

Schroeder

0

0

0

0

1

0

Barnes

0

0

0

0

1

0

Growcock

0

0

0

0

2

0

Kueffer

0

2

0

0

4

6

Valentine

0

0

0

0

1

0

Schwartz

1

0

2

3

3

4

Gaylord

1

0

4

4

1

6

Trosper

0

0

0

0

1

0

Wright

2

0

0

2

3

4

Vander Tuig

15

0

0

3

2

30

TOTAL

19

3

6

12

23

53

BOX SCORE

Team

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

F

Paola

10

17

18

19

64

Baldwin

12

12

15

14

53

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