AUBREY — The Panthers fought tooth and nail against the Pilot Point Bearcats in Bi-District playoff contention, coming up just short of moving on to the area round with a, 61-54, loss to the Bearcats on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
The game was shaping up to be a back and forth slugfest early on in the first quarter — Van Alstyne managed to put up 14 points, 7 of those points coming from the crisp shooting of Samuel Tormos. Unfortunately for the Panthers, Pilot Point was able to produce just a bit more with 16 points in the first, allowing the Bearcats to take an early and slim 16-14 lead.
Van Alstyne struggled to find and capitalize on good scoring opportunities in the second quarter, only adding 10 points towards their cause before halftime — Tormos had another solid quarter of play with 7 more points for the Panthers.
However, the Bearcats remained consistent in the second quarter with 14 points, taking a 30-24 lead with them into the locker-room at halftime.
The Panthers came out in the third quarter and put up a clunky 12 points on the board, failing to spark a much needed offensive rally to start the second half — Tormos remained consistent with 4 points while senior, Tyler Sperry, dropped 5 points in the quarter.
Pilot Point capitalized on this, putting together a 16 point third quarter and padding their score to a worrisome 46-36 lead going into the final quarter of play.
Van Alstyne showed plenty of heart in the final quarter, making a final 18 point push that saw Cam Montgomery go off for a hard fought 14 points while Tormos continued to produce with 4 more points. Sadly, the late game push and heroics were not enough to overcome the Bearcats lead and despite the grit, the Panthers fantastic 2018-2019 season came to an end at the sound of the final buzzer.
“Credit to Pilot Point for a great game, they came out and played well,” Panthers coach, Russell Best said after the tough loss, “I’m proud of our player’s effort and hard work throughout this year. This group continued to practice hard and work at getting better all the way through the year.”
Tormos finished the ballgame with an impressive 22 points and Montgomery capped things off with 17 points on the night.
The Panthers finished their solid season going 13-11 overall with a great 8-1 district record. Coach Best and his Panthers will hope to build off of and learn from the ups and downs of this season, and carry that growth with them into the 2019-2020 season.