by Bailey Kozalla, editor-in-chief
The varsity Panthers basketball team waited for their chance and pounced. Despite three heartbreaking losses in the first week of the season, the boys took home their first win following their first home game Dec. 15 against the Visionquest Eagles.
Reflecting on the results thus far, senior captain Stevie Siple said, “If we can bond more as a team we could limit the mistakes and hopefully we can put together a few wins throughout the season.” Senior captain Owen Chess concurred. “I think we are all talented individually, but we aren’t playing as well as a team right now, but when we start playing as a team, we will definitely get some wins this season.”
After the two losses against Karns City and AC Valley at the Hoops for Heroes Tournament, as well as the heartbreaking defeat at Jamestown, Coach Greg Molnar diagnosed the faults of the team. “If we could learn how to stop making mistakes and beating ourselves, we could win this year. Karns City and AC Valley didn’t beat us, we beat us.”
Their win against Visionquest certainly boosted the morale of the team. Compared to their 58-46 win last year, the Panthers topped the Eagles again 50-32 this year, updating their record to 1-3. Halfway through the first quarter, freshman Max Fuller drained two three-pointers, contributing to their 11-4 lead at the end of the first. Junior Ryan Sherry, along with junior Eli Draa and Chess dominated their offensive game, leading 35-20 concluding the third quarter. With 3:48 on the clock, the score was 43-23 following some impressive drives from sophomore Tariq Barnes. Towards the end of the fourth quarter, junior Brady Merkel sunk a deep three, lighting up the Panther bench. With five seconds left in the game, senior Jarrett DeJohn drained his first varsity points in his high school basketball career; and it was a heavily defended nineteen footer. The gym exploded with cheer, commending DeJohn.
The boys were able to secure another win at Youngsville on Dec. 20 with the JV and varsity teams winning both games 37-34 and 46-42 respectively. The boys played a tough game on Dec. 22 at Iroquois, coming up short with a score of 72-37. The JV team lost a heartbreaker in overtime 34-31.
The team also traveled to a holiday tournament at Northwestern High School. They lost to Northwestern 72-28 and General McLane 76-28. Following the results of these games, the JV record is 1-2 and the varsity is currently 2-6.
The Panthers will be back in action again at home this Friday against the Cambridge Springs Blue Devils. Stay tuned for live updates on Twitter @PantherPressSHS.