The boys' basketball teams had a busy week, starting at Randolph on Tuesday, going to the Devine Tournament on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and then traveling to Harper on Monday.
The six-game-in-seven-day run began at Randolph against a strong Ro-Hawk team. The Panthers struggled to match-up with the Ro-Hawks throughout the night, as the hosts raced out to a 24-12 halftime lead. David Ramirez led a second half charge that would cut the lead to eight points late in the third quarter, but Randolph pulled away for a 56-36 win.
The Panthers opened the Devine tournament by playing the host Warhorses. They got the added bonus of the host school allowing all the students in the school to attend the game. With junior Kyle Sauceda in early foul trouble, the Warhorses were able to take a six-point lead into the half. With things beginning to look bleak and the Devine student section getting rowdy, David Ramirez buried a three from the corner and followed that up with a conventional three-point play. Fellow junior Brett Champion drew a foul and converted both free throws, and Sauceda got a three-point play to grab a 48-47 lead. Sauceda added another bucket to stretch the lead to 3. The Warhorses got off a shot at the buzzer, but it fell harmlessly to the floor, giving the Panthers an exhilarating 50-47 victory.
The second game on Thursday was a 78-36 victory over Jourdanton, the only other 2A school in the tournament. In a balanced attack, Sauceda had 17 points, Champion 15, junior Carlin Green 14, Ramirez 10, junior Chandler Stewart 9, senior Sam Isenberg 9, and senior Colton Childress 4.
Things didn't go as well on Friday, as eventual tournament champion Bandera beat the Panthers 67-45. For the game, Sauceda had 19 points and Champion had 11. Saturday's game against Pleasanton was a frustrating one for the Panthers, as they uncharacteristically missed shot after shot in the paint, and had several unforced turnovers, leading to a 55-45 loss. The Panthers dug themselves an early hole, and nearly got themselves out of it several times with sheer effort, but eventually the Eagles were able to put the game away at the free throw line. For the tournament, Kyle Sauceda and Colton Childress were selected for All-Tournament.
On Monday, Blanco traveled to state-ranked and undefeated Harper. Whether the Longhorns are still state-ranked or not is up to pollsters, but they are definitely no longer undefeated, as the Panthers jumped out to a 13-2 first quarter lead, stretched it to 32-15 at the half, 52-31 after three quarters, and finished with a 71-43 win. The defensive play of Ramirez, Isenberg, and Childress kept the Longhorns from getting into their offense all night. Green, Sauceda and senior Quinn Dillard provided strong inside defense and rebounding as well. Sauceda led the team with 22 points, and Champion pitched in 19.
The JV Blue have become the Cardiac Kids, with almost every game of the week coming down to the last possession. Against Randolph, the Panthers fell 34-33. Freshman Jacob McCaslin led the team with 14 points. At the Devine tournament, the Panthers opened by falling to Devine in double overtime 63-62. Sophomore Colton Elrod hit a shot to send the game into overtime; hit a three pointer at the buzzer to send it into double overtime; then, hit what looked to be a three-pointer to seemingly tie the game to put the game into triple overtime... or so it seemed. AFTER THE BUZZER, the officials changed the shot to a two-pointer, giving the host Warhorses the one-point victory. The Panthers then fell to Jourdanton 32-30. On Friday, they fell to eventual tournament champion Bandera. On Saturday, they got back to their heart-stopping play, rallying from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to take Pleasanton into overtime, keyed by a big three-pointer by sophomore Dylan Tesch. In overtime, freshman Jordan Wagner got a big steal-and-layup to allow the Panthers to take control. Elrod followed that up with a couple hoops of his own, and the Panthers dribbled out the clock for a 56-52 victory. On Monday, freshman Trent Dechert hit a three-pointer with 25 seconds to play to push the Panthers over Harper, 50-47.
The JV Gold had only one game this week, as their schedule picks up after the Holidays. In its one game, the Panthers rolled up a 47-27 win over Randolph. Diego Alegria led the team with 17 points, Trent Dechert had 13, and Robbie Arlitt scored 9.
The Panthers finally have a home game on Friday, playing host to Fredericksburg Heritage. The JV starts at 5 and the varsity will tip off at around 6:30.