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Panthers win despite sloppy ending

What a difference a weekend makes. The Paola Panther Boys suffered a hugely disappointing loss at Louisburg Friday night and then played themselves to a somewhat disappointing win at home against the Anderson County Bulldogs. The difference was about 72 hours, and the outcomes were completely opposite.

If you look at this one just on paper, you’d have to wonder why the Panthers were disappointed, after all, Paola scored almost as many points in the first quarter (20) as they did in the first three quarters (21) at Louisburg, and the Panthers 42 points in the first half eclipsed their total for the game on Friday. But it was the way the Panthers closed out the game that was the disappointing thing, and you can’t find that story on paper.

WLH0253 What it all boiled down to, was the Panthers went out and buried the Bulldogs, taking a relatively easy 11 point, 67-56 victory, on Monday, February 22, 2010 at Paola. But the margin could have been so much more, and with the way the Panthers closed out the game, it could have been a whole lot closer.

The Panthers did just about everything one could think of to allow the Bulldogs back into the game. The good news was, after running out to a big lead, as many as 18 points several times in the second half, the Panthers tried to “play with the lead” as Head Coach Dave Cash has told them several times on the season, the bad news was, the Panthers attempt at playing with the lead turned out to be an ugly imitation of the real thing.

What Cash is referring to when he talks about playing with the lead, is settling into a good half court offense, protecting the ball, making good passes, moving with and without the ball and working for good shots, or forcing the other team to foul to try and end a possession.

When done right, there’s almost no team playing that can come back against a team that plays with the lead correctly. The problem was, the Panthers attempt was a poor imitation of the real thing. Sure, the Panthers did try and work the ball, them made numerous passes, and really didn’t put up any wild, head shaking, hair pulling shots. But the problem was, they didn’t get any good looks at the basket, as they scored only seven points in the fourth quarter, got just a single field goal from Nick Wilson and went to the free throw line only six times. The good news there was they made five of those free throws, but a good offense, when its playing with an 18 point lead against a team that has a pulse and is trying to get back into the game, should have more than one basket and six free throws.

WLH0365 “That game was ugly at the end,” Cash said. “We just can’t be happy with the way we played in the last eight to ten minutes, we had them on the ropes down 18 and let them come back, I’m just really disappointed with the way we finished.”

Early on this game had all the looks of a barn burner. Both teams opened with good offensive rhythm and battled back and forth through most of the first quarter. The Panthers scored first on a Conner Kresin three pointer, and trailed only a couple of times early in the game, but the Bulldogs stayed close, and when Kresin hit his second three pointer of the first quarter to give the Panthers a 10-8 lead, Paola was on top to stay.

The Panthers and Bulldogs would exactly double their score in the next four minutes, as shortly after Galen Ryman cut the Paola lead to two at 16-14, Travis Hayes and Brandon Goodman hit back to back baskets to push the lead to 20-14 with under two minutes to play in the half. Eric Tastove cut the Panther lead back to four with a jumper to close out the scoring in the first quarter with the score standing at 20-16.

The Panthers offensive explosion continued in the second quarter as they put another 22 points on the board, while limiting Anderson County to just 11 points to open a commanding 42-27 lead at the half.

Hayes, Wilson and Kresin did all the damage for the Panthers in the second period, as Hayes hit for nine of his game high 22 points in the second quarter. In all, Hayes hit 17 of his 22 points in the first half. Wilson matched Hayes’ nine points in the quarter in route to 13 of his 19 total points in the first half. And while Kresin’s point total wasn’t that impressive, he nailed another three pointer in the second quarter, giving him three treys for nine points for the half.

Hayes hit his points early in the quarter, scoring nine of the Panthers first 11 points in the quarter. Wilson did his damage late, as he hit seven of the Panthers last 11 points in the quarter including a three pointer as time expired to give Paola a 15 point 42-27 margin at the intermission.

The third quarter was more of the same for the Panthers, as they continued to build on the lead which eventually reached 18 points at 56-38 on a Justin Dunmars basket with just under two minutes to play in the third quarter. Hayes again looked like he was going to have a huge night for the Panthers as he scored three points early to take his total to 20 points on the night. It could have been more too, as he missed three of four free throw attempts in the third quarter.

Unlike the first half, the Panthers began to spread the scoring around in the second half, as Brandon Goodman, Dunmars and Isaac Cotton got into the act. Many of those points came after Hayes picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench with about three and a half minutes to play in the quarter. When the third quarter ended, the Panthers were still in attack mode and held an 18 point lead at 60-42.

But the Panthers couldn’t stand prosperity, and when Carston Cooper hit a bucket with about six and a half minutes to play to cut the Panther lead to 16 at 60-44 it marked the beginning of a 14-7 run for the Bulldogs to close the game and make the final a lot closer than the game actually was at 11 points.

It’s not that the Panthers played bad, in fact for most of the game they played pretty well on offense, but the defensive intensity was just not up to snuff according to Cash.

“You’ve got to guard, not just look like you’re guarding, and that’s what we did a lot of the time out there,” Cash said. “Sloppy basketball isn’t acceptable, and next week in the sub state tournament, that kind of performance will get you beat.”

On a positive note, the Panthers got monster games out of Hayes and Wilson, scoring 22 and 19 points respectively after being nearly shut out with four and five points each at Louisburg. Kresin also hit for double figures, as he added two more baskets to his three, three pointers to total 13 points in the game. The Panthers hit six three pointers on the night, but got to the free throw line only 12 times, where the hit seven shots.

The Bulldogs got 20 points from Galen Ryman, 19 points from Alaric Bogle and 11 points from Eric Tastove. Anderson County was just nine of 20 from the free throw line including just two of eight in the fourth quarter. If the Bulldogs had shot a better percentage from the charity stripe, it could have been a different game, and that’s what got under Cash’s skin.

“I’m glad we won, you guys deserve every win you get,” Cash said. “But I’m just really disappointed in the way we finished.”

The Panthers face a stern test on Friday night as they will host the high flying Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers in senior night action. The following week the Panthers will take part in the sub-state tournament that will conclude in Osawatomie.

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Cotton

1

0

1

2

5

3

Dunmars

1

0

1

2

1

3

Hawkins

0

0

0

0

1

0

Goodman

2

1

0

0

3

7

Kresin

2

3

0

0

1

13

Hayes

8

1

3

6

4

22

Wilson

7

1

2

2

3

19

Smail

0

0

0

0

0

0

West

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

21

6

7

12

18

67

BOX SCORE

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Ryman

7

1

3

7

2

20

Bogle

8

0

3

9

3

19

Cooper

2

0

0

0

3

4

Hoffman

0

0

2

2

2

2

Tastove

5

0

1

2

1

11

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

22

1

9

20

11

56

BOX SCORE

Team

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

F

Paola

20

22

18

7

67

Anderson Co.

16

11

15

14

56

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