COMMERCE — It was a rowdy one between the Panthers and Commerce in a battle for the District 10-3A championship and the Panthers came up just short in their bid to claim of share of it in a 64-59 loss on Friday, Feb. 9.
The victory earned the outright 10-3A crown for Commerce and locked Van Alstyne into second place.
In classic VA fashion the Panthers quickly took the lead with a deep Noah Boling three at the start of the game. Commerce responded with a vicious scoring streak that saw them sink three straight three-pointers to take a 11-5 advantage early in the first quarter. Despite a dominant Commerce quarter, Van Alstyne stuck close by with crisp shooting when the shots were available. Commerce took a 22-15 lead going into the second quarter.
Van Alstyne came out on a mission in the second quarter, outscoring Commerce 17-12 in the frame. Tyler Sperry kicked things off in the second with a deep three followed up with a layup by Boling, the Panthers were now only down 23-20. After some back-and-forth scoring the Panthers took their first lead since the early minutes of the game on a Samuel Tormos layup taking a 28-26 lead. Van Alstyne managed to maintain their lead throughout the quarter until Commerce hit a clutch three at the buzzer, allowing them to take a 34-32 advantage into half-time.
The third quarter was an unusual one for the two teams as both did marginal scoring. Van Alstyne had 14 points in the third quarter while Commerce only managed to produce 10 points. After a tense defensive stand off, by the five-minute mark of the quarter Van Alstyne managed to take a 39-37 lead after another Tormos layup, the lead was extended by a Sperry three-pointer. These capitalized shot opportunities allowed Van Alstyne to finish out a quarter with a lead for the first time of the game, going into the final quarter with a 46-44 lead.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, Commerce went on a tear in the fourth quarter putting up a deciding 20 points while holding Van Alstyne to a 13-point gain.
Sperry wrapped up his night with an impressive 24-point performance, followed by Boling, who had 15 points, and Tormos, who had 10.