Panthers hit the hard court

By Griff Servati
Van Alstyne Leader
VAHS Junior Blake Skipworth lines up for a three-pointer.

The Van Alstyne Panthers have started their season on the hard court, playing five games in ten days. The Panthers have opened the season with a 1-5 record, but the games they have lost have all been under ten points, with three of the games coming down to one to two late-game possessions. The team is preparing for its new home in the 4A classification by competing against large private schools and some traditional basketball powerhouses in North Texas. 

    The Panthers have had to start the season without several contributors due to quarantine and injuries. Senior point guard Nathan Henley broke his hand in a late-season football game and will hopefully return to basketball before Christmas. Several players have missed these early games due to close contact quarantine. Coach Best has had to move players up from the JV team for first games, knowing that this season is sure to have more of these issues to deal with throughout a long season. 

VAHS Sophomore Carson Brown is the early season scoring leader for the Panthers

    In the five early-season games, we have learned that the scoring is centered around three players; JJ Boling, Blake Skipworth, and Carson Brown. JJ Boling, the lengthy point guard who can take it to the hole and create a shot out of nothing, is a name that Panther fans are very familiar with, as he has been a varsity player since starting as a freshman. Boling has averaged 18 points a game through the first five.  Blake Skipworth, the left-handed set shot three-point specialist, has settled into a more leadership role in his second season on varsity. In the game against Community, Skipworth scored a team season-high 32 points, with 21 coming from behind the three point line.  Carson Brown, the 6’5” sophomore, will make a case for an area “newcomer of the year,” is making a significant impact in his first games on the varsity team. Brown is averaging 21 points a game through the first five games. 

    The Panthers will take the court following the Thanksgiving break of Saturday, Nov 28th, with a noon tipoff at home. The game is against the former district opponent Commerce, who has always been an exciting game when these two teams hit the court. 

VAHS Junior JJ Boling creates a shot in the lane against Trinity Christian.

Nov 14th Bishop Lynch lost 71-70

42% from the field,  42% from three point, and 85% FT

The Panthers gave up 54 points on second chance opportunities along with 15 turnovers

Carson Brown 25 points and 9 rebounds

JJ Boling 19 points and  8 rebounds

Blake Skipworth 12 points

Blake Hyatt 6 points

Nov 17 vs Community  - WON 80-60

46% from the field, 45% from three point, 54% freethrow line

The Panthers scored over half of their points from three point (42) and Blake Skipworth scoring 21 of those.

Blake Skipworth 32 points on 7/11 from 3 point 

Carson Brown 17 points 

JJ Boling 17 points 

Blake Hyatt 4 assists and 2 steals and 6 points

Nov 21 vs Frisco Centennial High lost 63-67

36% from the field,  27% three point percentage, 55 % Freethrow percentage

The Panther downfall in this close game was giving up 48 points in the paint.  

Carson Brown 25 points and  11 rebounds

JJ Boling 14 points  7 rebounds

Blake Skipworth 11 points

Kade Ramer 7 points

Tom Fowler 6 points

Nov 20 Ponder Lost 66-68

48% from the field, 36% three point percentage, , 60 % ft 

In a game that came down to one possession the Panthers 12 turnovers in the game and missed eight free throw attempts. 

JJ Boling 26 points, 7 rebounds

Carson Brown 18, 6 rebounds and 5 steals

Blake Skipworth 9 points

Blake Hyatt 3 points

Nov 23 vs Trinity Christian LOST 51-61

45%, 23% 3, 57 FT


Carson Brown 21 points 9 rebounds

JJ Boling 14 points

Blake Skipworth 16

Only three players scoring