VAN ALSTYNE — The Panthers put on a shooting clinic against the Howe Bulldogs, winning the game, 94-48, on Friday, Feb. 2 in District 10-3A play.


Van Alstyne started off on the right foot, putting up 27 points to start the game in the first quarter. Noah Boling managed 12 points towards the Panthers efforts in the first, while Tyler Sperry offered some help with 8 points of his own. Ty Harvey netted 5 points for the Bulldogs, but unfortunately Howe as a whole started off sluggish and quickly fell behind 27-14.


The Panthers opened it up in the second, going on a four possession scoring streak that was capped off by a Jackson Rodgers dunk. Harvey responded with a deep three for Howe, making it 36-17 in the early minutes of the second. Van Alstyne continued their assault throughout the quarter breaking off large scoring streaks that Howe couldn’t keep up a response to. Boling put up another impressive 15 points in the quarter, Rodgers finished up the half with 4 points, both coming from dunks. The Bulldogs were only able to add 13 points towards their efforts before the end of the half. Van Alstyne went into the locker rooms with a 59-27 lead.


“I think there’s been some things that we have been working on in practice that are really starting to show up in the games,” Van Alstyne coach Russel Best said of his team’s performance. “We are getting better everyday, and I thought those things we have been working on really showed up in the game, and that just shows me we are getting better everyday.”


The pace of play slowed for both teams in the third quarter. Van Alstyne gained a respectable 22 points, while Howe squeaked out only 9 of their own. Sperry helped out Van Alstyne with 8 points in the quarter, hitting two more 3-pointers. By the end of the game, he hit 6 total shots and had 18 points from beyond the arch. Rodgers had another dunk in the third quarter, making it 3 on the night. The Bulldogs had minimal scoring between their five starters and took an 81-36 deficit with them into the final frame of play.


Subs came in for the Panthers, still managing to put together a 13 point final quarter. Howe followed suit with the subs and managed 12 points of their own. Howe freshman Cirby Coheley came in and was money from the free-throw line, hitting 5-6 shots. With the lead firmly in their favor, Van Alstyne was able to ride out the minutes to another district victory, making the 8-1 in district and knocking the Bulldogs to 6-4 in district.


“That’s the most disappointed I’ve been all year. We have been rising to a level that I thought we could really compete, I know they [Van Alstyne] are a great team and I knew it would be a tough game, but I’m just disappointed we didn’t show up to compete,” Howe coach Eric Johns said of the loss. “We got taken out of the game during pregame, we got intimidated before we started, and that’s what I’ve been preaching that we need to get passed the mental side of the game. There’s been some losses this season I’ve been happy about, we showed up and played great basketball, it just wasn’t our day. But tonight we didn’t compete and we will work on it, step back and go back to work on Monday and get better.”


Boling finished up a great game with 34 points on the night, while Sperry wrapped things up with 26 points.


Harvey ended his night with 10 points for the Bulldogs, while Noah Campbell finished with 8 points.


The Bulldogs will hope to turn things around in a road game against Leonard on Friday, Feb. 9. Van Alstyne will try to keep up their winning ways against a tough opponent in Commerce on Friday, Feb. 9.