Van Alstyne 73, Whitesboro 42
The start of the Van Alstyne-Whitesboro game at Frisco Reedy High School on Tuesday night was kind of like a heavyweight fight.
Each side feeling the other out for the first eight minutes, but from then on it was pretty much all Van Alstyne.
With the two tied, 17-17, senior Landon Pardee sent in his second 3-pointer of the game to start an 18-4 run, and things didn’t get any better for the Bearcats.
Van Alstyne won the Class 3A, Region II bi-district contest, 73-42 to set up an area round matchup with Dallas Madison.
The Panthers wanted to go inside early on Whitesboro, but the Bearcats were rejecting most of the drives in the paint.
Defense and outside shooting opened up the paint, and shots started falling.
Sophomore Tyler Sperry and junior Noah Boling joined Pardee in the 3-point barrage to get the offense rolling.
“We just started playing better on the defensive end, getting stops, and the refs were calling fouls, so that opened up the middle for us,” Sperry said.
He finished with a career-high 24 points in the game.
Pardee was having a monster game on both ends of the court. The senior wing had two blocks and six rebounds in the first half and finished the game with a season-high 16 points.
Van Alstyne, keeping up their drives to the iron, went to the foul line 12 times in the first half and made all 12.
“We knew they would knock us around a little, but we wanted to take advantage of their foul situation so we kept going inside,” Van Alstyne head coach Russell Best said.
Early foul trouble sent senior post Michael Hensley to the bench and Best turned to his bench for help
“We had been using Mike McCullough as a utility man and he stepped up in that role when we had to take Hensley out,” Best said. “Mason Adams picked up a charge, and maybe one was missed, and Trevor Roberts gave us some good minutes in the paint as well.”
Boling rebounded his own miss midway through the second quarter and was fouled on his shot attempt, making both free throws to keep the run from the charity stripe alive. He hit a jumper from the elbow late in the quarter, then found senior De’ Angelo Alexander cutting for the basket for a nice dime.
Two free throws by Pardee closed out the first half with the Panthers up, 38-21.
What looked so easy in the second quarter became more difficult in the third as the shots didn’t fall as easily in that period.
“We knew they would make a run, and we responded in the fourth quarter,” Best said.
Leading 50-31 going into the final eight minutes, the Panthers stepped up the pressure on the defensive end, and made just about everything they put up on the offense. Sperry had 11 points in the quarter, and one bucket was an over-the-head shot after a spin move in the paint. Boling scored six points late in the quarter, four coming off of assists from Sperry. With the fourth-quarter runaway in full flight, junior varsity players got some action.
Cam Montgomery scored the final points of the contest in his first varsity action of the season.
Sperry was asked about the challenge of facing the state’s number one ranked Class 3-A team in Dallas Madison.
“We will just come in and play our game, we have a lot of confidence right now, and we will be ready,” Sperry said.