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Panthers lose pair, get ready for districts

WALSENBURG- The John Mall Panthers lost a pair of league games to leaders, Crowley County, 63-57, and Rocky Ford, 59-49. The losses did not affect their second place hold on district standings, one game behind Custer County.

    On February 11, the Panthers hosted Crowley County.  The Cats opened the game off the hot shooting of Charlie Whitehead and the solid Panther defense. Their momentum continued well into the second period, but they found themselves in foul trouble early.  The Crowley team came charging back in the second and took the lead at the buzzer ending the half.  The game was back and forth in the third and was knotted at 40 when the final quarter began.  The Chargers took control at the end with a pair of three-point shots to dash the Panthers’ comeback hopes.  Whitehead scored a season high, 32 points.

    On the following night, the Panthers hosted Rocky Ford.  The Meloneers were looking for revenge for an earlier season upset at the hands of the Panthers.  The Panthers played the league leading Meloneers tough in the first half with a tough defense and solid offense. By the half, they held a 13-point lead.  It was all Rocky in the third as they came back to tie the game, shutting down John Mall. Rocky′s Bo Brodrick and Jacob Garcia knocked in 19 third-quarter points to put the Meloneers back in the game.  Whitehead sat out most of the third in foul trouble.  The fouls continued to plague the Cats and the outcome of the game was ultimately determined at the line.

    Afterwards, Coach Harriman said, "We need to win a third quarter if we are to beat the good teams." One of the problems the Panthers have had all season was giving up their halftime leads in the third.  Harriman also said, "We will make corrections this week in our practice plans."

    The Panthers wrap up the season on the road against Swink tonight and in their final regular season game against Cotopaxi Saturday.

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