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Trailblazers bury unfocused Panthers

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Cotton

3

0

0

0

1

6

Dent

0

0

1

2

1

1

Dunmars

2

0

1

4

5

5

Hawkins

2

0

1

2

2

5

Goodman

0

0

1

2

5

1

Kresin

1

0

1

1

4

3

Hayes

1

1

1

2

4

6

Wilson

3

0

1

4

0

7

Smail

0

0

0

0

0

0

Debrick

1

0

2

2

1

4

TOTAL

13

1

9

19

23

38

BOX SCORE

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Reed

0

1

0

0

0

3

Starling

8

1

2

4

3

21

Jones

1

0

2

3

0

4

Webb

0

1

0

0

0

3

Haas

1

0

1

2

5

3

Newsome

2

0

5

11

2

9

Brady

0

1

0

0

1

3

Juenemann

3

1

0

0

4

9

Langrehr

4

1

1

2

0

12

Johnson

1

0

0

0

0

2

Mauszycki

2

0

0

0

4

4

TOTAL

22

6

11

22

19

73

BOX SCORE

Team

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

F

Paola

7

16

5

10

38

Gardner

19

19

19

16

73

SCORE BY QUARTERS
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Probably the best way to dissect a 35 point loss is to look for the positives in the performance, look for the bright spots, the silver lining if you will to a very dark cloud. As with every game that ends badly for a team, there are good things to glean from the loss. No loss is ever a waste, there’s always lessons to be learned from losing, just as there are lessons to be learned from winning.

On thing is for sure, Paola Panthers Head Coach Dave Cash is passionate about getting better every game. He and the Panther coaching staff preach that over and over, day after day, and for the most part, with few exceptions this year, he and the staff have been able to identify improvement in nearly every game over the course of the season.

WLH0822 The Panthers 73-38 blowout loss to the Gardner-Edgerton Trailblazers on Friday, February 26, 2010 may be one of those games this season where the Panthers did not show significant growth and progress this year.

Now, a lot of the problems that the Panthers had, and that Cash pointed out to his team after the game could be directly attributed to the overwhelming talent disparity between the Panthers and the Trailblazers, but that is to be expected.

The Trailblazers are lead by junior superstar in the making Bubba Starling who, at times looked like a man amongst boys in this game, at one point in the third quarter he soared above everyone to slam home an alley-oop pass and dunk, much to the delight of the large contingent of Gardner students and fans who made the trek south for what may be the last time since the Blazers will take their game to the East Kansas League next hear.

Then, a short time later, Starling got a steal just outside the arc on the Panther end of the floor and soon it was “show time” as he thew down a resounding two hand slam that brought an equally loud reaction. But, Starling is not alone in his traveling basketball road show, and although the Blazers put only one other player in double figures, 11 players put at least two points on the board, and along with Starling (21) and Conner Langrehr (12), two other players Jaydan Juenemann and Dexter Newsome each hit nine.

The only thing the Trailblazers didn’t do particularly well is shoot free throws, as they missed 50% of their 22 free throw attempts.

No, what frustrated Cash and the rest of the Panther coaching staff, was Paola’s obvious lack of focus, four of 12 free throws made in the first half is a prime example, to go along with a lack of energy and communication on the floor. It’s almost as if the Panthers had decided long before they stepped on the floor that they could not play with the Trailblazers and that was that.

Now, there’s lots of teams that are completely outgunned in a game, and the Panthers obviously fit in that category. But when teams who are outmanned and outgunned play the game with intensity and focus, they hang around longer than four minutes into the game, which is exactly when the Trailblazers took the lead for good at 6-4. Teams it that situation don’t fall behind by double digits in the first quarter, and they certainly don’t get down by nearly 20 points halfway through the second quarter.

It wasn’t all bad for the Panthers, there were times when they showed emotion, fire and intensity. After Tommy Brady hit his only basket of the game, a three pointer with about three minutes to play in the half to give the Trailblazers that 20 point lead at 30-10, the Panthers fought back, going on a 13-8 run to end the half down by only 15 at 38-23. Conner Kresin and Justin Dunmars each converted three point plays during that time, and Nick Wilson hit two field goals and Isaac Cotton added another, Skylar Hawkins it one of two free throws to account for the Panthers points.

Starling decided to put the game away, if it wasn’t already, at the beginning of the second half as he hit nine of his game high 21 points in the first four minutes of the quarter and the Blazers held the Panthers to just three points in the first six and a half minutes of the period. The only points during Staling’s run for Paola was an early three pointer by Travis Hayes, which proved to be the Panthers only trey in the game. By the time Nick Wilson hit a shot to end the Panthers scoring drought with about a minute and a half to play in the third quarter, the Trailblazers had blown past the 20 point mark in margin difference and lead by 27 at 53-26. Following Wilson’s basket for the Panthers, Daniel Mauszycki hit his only two buckets on the evening, and the Trailblazers lead by 29 at the quarter 57-28.

The fourth quarter was more of the same with Gardner looking like they were doing their best to get the margin to 40 points, as they were still launching, and hitting three pointers late in the game, as Brandon Reed and Tanner Webb each hit treys in the last two minutes, the last of which pushed the Gardner lead to 36 points at 73-37.

Austin Dent hit a free throw with about 15 seconds to play in the game to make the final score 73-38.

The Panthers were led in scoring by Nick Wilson with seven points, no Panther player hit for double figures, with Hayes and Cotton hitting six each and Dunmars and Hawkins each hitting five.

The Panthers must now regroup as they will head to Fort Scott on Monday night to take on the Tigers in the opening round of the Kansas State Class 4A Sub-state Tournament. The Tigers are the third seed in the tournament and come in with a 12-7 record. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the Ottawa vs Anderson County game on Friday night, March 5, 2010 at Osawatomie. The Panthers have played both Ottawa and Anderson County this season, losing to Ottawa and most recently defeating Anderson County,

“We must bring energy and focus every night,” Cash said. “Fort Scott will be more disciplined, and it will be a very tough environment.”

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