Boys basketball takes third at McPherson tournament

Blake Chadwick

The Panthers kicked off their 2020 mid-season tournament as the No. 2 seed in the storied McPherson Invitational Tournament against the No. 7 seed Topeka Seaman, which was winless.  

The Panthers came out firing from behind the arc. 

The Panthers tied an MIT record for most threes in a game as they finished 15 of 31 from three-point land. 

After a first round win, the Panthers found themselves matched up against the No. 3-seeded Lawrence Free State Firebirds. 

Free State is a familiar foe to the Panthers, whose 2018-19 season ended at Free State. 

It was a back-and-forth game all first half with promise of more as the Panthers led by four at halftime. 

But thanks to a 36-point second-half, the Firebirds were able to pull away and win 67-51. 

Blue Valley was the third and final opponent for the Derby Panthers in the third-place game. 

The Panthers got out to a fast start, thanks to senior Nick Bonner. Derby was able to contain the talents of Blue Valley’s 6-foot-8 sophomore star — Aidan Shaw — for most of the game. 

In the second half the Panthers looked to pull away time after time, but the Tigers managed to keep it interesting. 

But to no avail, the Panthers were able to pull away with the 70-61 win. 

The Panthers finished third. 

Bonner, who averaged 18.3 points per game, was named to the MIT All-tournament team.