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The Carroll County Panthers headed to Campbellsville to play in the Coca Cola/Campbellsville University Holiday Classic over the Christmas break and lost a heartbreaker in the final game in overtime.
The three game tournament began Dec. 28 when the Panthers met the Cougars of Morgan County, Ky., and took a 33-26 lead into the locker room at half time.
The second half saw the Panthers in a shooting funk from the floor, but they went to the charity stripe often and connected 70 percent of the time. In the third period, the Panthers only scored three treys and in the fourth quarter they hit one field goal and 11 of 16 from the line.
The Panthers won the game on defense and at the foul line.
The second game had the Panthers pitted against the Campbellsville Eagles and the Panthers shooting woes took their toll early as they scored only two points in the first period.
The second period had the Panthers beginning to get on track as they added 9, going to the locker room down 11-27.
The third period saw the Panthers look like their normally good shooting selves, knocking down 15 and they were on fire scoring 23 in the final period.
Unfortunately, the deficit was just too much to overcome and the Eagles were also hot, scoring 23 in the final quarter. The game ended 63-79 with Chris Hendrick being the Panther high scorer with 17, followed by Will Yager with 12 and Jesse Proctor with 10.
The final game saw the Panthers take on the Lions of Garrard County and took it into overtime before the Lions could claw their way over the Panthers.
The Panthers led the Lions at the end of the first period 10-6, but foul trouble for the Panthers sent the Lions to the charity stripe for 12 shots, where they converted on 10 of them. The only other Lion points were a field goal and a trey in the second period, bringing the score at halftime to 18-21, the same three point difference the Lions needed to win.
The Panthers were still sluggish in the third period only scoring nine points, but added 16 in the fourth quarter to force the overtime.
Fouls became a problem for the Lions late in the contest as the Panthers chipped away at the lead from the line, and again scoring five of their nine points in the OT from the stripe.
In the end, the Lions prevailed, but not without a strong effort from the Panthers, according to Head coach Carroll Yager.
Yager stressed the defensive effort his team gave and the success they are having at the line, which keeps them in games late.
Will Yager was the Panther high scorer with 19, while Chris Hendrick added 16. Hendrick fouled out of the contest and Matt Allen and DC Craig finished the contest with four fouls each.
The loss was a heart-breaker, but Yager is sure his team learned a lot from the experience that should help them down the stretch in conference play.