Boys basketball battles at Dodge City tourney

Blake Chadwick

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12 p.m. Jan. 17

The Panthers arrived in Dodge City with a plan to get back to the Tournament of Champions like game like they had the two previous times, /winning in 2015 and getting second in 2017.

2 p.m. Jan. 17

The Panthers took the court raring to go against the Junction City Blue Jays. Junction City jumped out to a fast start with an and-1 to start the game. Despite the Blue Jays’ first-half domination, junior Tre Washington and the Panthers were able to hang in through halftime.

To start the second half, senior Clayton Hood went on a 5-0 run, tying the score at 33-all but after that the Junction City Blue Jays and AJ Dickerson were just too much. Junction City found some success with breaking the press and running in transition. The Blue Jays were just too much for the Panthers despite Washington’s 24 points.

6 p.m. Jan. 18

The Panthers played the Hutchinson Salthawks in the battle for bragging rights in the AVCTL I.

The Panthers wreaked havoc the whole game led by Hoods’ eight steals. After forcing turnover after turnover, the Panthers were finally able to celebrate and not hang their heads after beating the Salthawks 56-40.

1:30 p.m. Jan. 19

Fighting for fifth place, the Panthers battled Newton, another AVCTL I opponent. The Railers beat Derby 47-44 in December.

Ty Berry and the Railers jumped out to a 21-5 first-quarter run, thanks to Berry shooting three-pointers at an unconscious rate — three of four — in the first quarter. He had six threes in the first half.

After the Panthers got over the initial bad start, it was a mountainous climb back to the top. But the Panthers just kept chipping away.

As the game started to slip even more in the second quarter, the fear of a blowout was quickly shutdown as Washington scored eight to bring back life to the team.

Down by 11 at half, the Panthers cut it to three with about 15 seconds left on sophomore Lem Wash’s three. Then junior Ladell Clemons forced a Newton turnover senior captain Clayton Hood hit a huge three-pointer to force the game into overtime.

The Railers were just too much as they capitalized on their free throws, which helped put the Panthers — who shot 2 of 11 from the field in overtime — out of the game for good.