Cudas pose a challenge for Panther basketball opener
December 1, 2015
After scoring over 70 points in an overtime defeat against district opponent Varela last Friday, the Palmetto Panthers boys basketball team lost to the Coral Reef Barracudas 69-61 on Monday. The Panthers are now 1-2 on the season.
To start off their home opener, the Panthers went with a lineup consisting of Tavian Percy and Harris Scott in the backcourt , Jayden Hardaway and Tyler Escobar at small and power forward respectively and Jovan Guerrero at center.
Within the opening minutes, the Cudas took a commanding 8 to 0 lead. Palmetto coach Rick Landera then substituted in sophomore Joshua Phillips and senior Jacob Eisenberg, trying to find a resolution for stopping Coral Reef’s offense. Finally, junior Jayden Hardaway put the first points on the scoreboard for Palmetto with 3:34 left in the first quarter to cut the deficit to 3-8. Hardaway’s three-point shooting sparked a 12-5 run to end the quarter, making it a 17-5 game at the end of the first in favor of the Cudas.
Struggling at the start of the second quarter, Palmetto subbed in Hardaway with 6:15 left in the quarter, igniting the offense right away with a pair of free throws and a three pointer. Tavian Percy also contributed on offense for Palmetto, but Coral Reef guard Adrian Farradas made three pointers on consecutive possessions to close out the half, giving the Cudas a comfortable 39-26 lead.
Coral Reef guard Michael Vreones opened up the scoring in the second half with a three -pointer, giving the Cudas a 16 point lead. Percy answered for the Panthers with a three pointer of his own.Afterward, Palmetto guard Mack Merritt completed a 3 point play, cutting the Barracuda lead to 12 and possibly shifting the momentum. In a quarter that seemed to be a back and forth battle, Coral Reef Center Brent Holcombe answered with a three-point play of his own, putting a halt to the momentum. After three, the Cuda’s still had a commanding 53-40 lead.
To open scoring in the fourth, Palmetto guard Justin Shinhoster drained a three-pointer, cutting the lead to ten points. However, the Barracudas responded yet again, as Brent Holcombe responded with six straight Cuda points, extending the lead to 59-43. The Panthers wouldn’t go away, as Tavian Percy hit a three-pointer with 1:22 left to cut it to a 66-54 Coral Reef lead. Center Jovan Guerrero also contributed on the offensive side by making a three-point play to cut the Reef lead to ten with 33.3 seconds left. Although Palmetto outscored Reef 2-16 in the final quarter, it wasn’t enough as Coral Reef won by a final score of 69-61 due to the consistent resiliency on offense.
“I was very impressed by all the support our team had from the students, friends, and family,” junior guard Jayden Hardaway said. “We knew that Coral Reef was going to be a tough team to play, but we plan to beat them the next time we play. I hope we continue to get support at all the home games.”
Player of the Game- Brent Holcombe- the Barracuda center finished the night with 17 points, 16 rebounds and 2 assists.
The next game for Palmetto is Wednesday, December 2nd at Columbus. The next home game for the Panthers is Friday, December 4th vs. rival Killian at 7:30.