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The Panthers had all the excitement, noise, crowds, cheerleaders and bands that go with high-school tournament basketball last Wednesday, Jan. 21.
Everything except a win.
The Carroll County Panthers hosted the All Class A boys tournament last week, but fell to the Wildcats of Gallatin County in the first round, 42-33.
It was especially disappointing, because the Lady Panthers had also lost to Gallatin County in the final round of the All Class A just a week before.
The Wildcats won the opening tip-off, the game and just about every category in a very physical contest.
Will Yager knocked down the first two points for the Panthers, and they were hard to come by after that. The score at the end of the first quarter had the Panther trailing 8-10.
D.C. Craig stole the ball early in the second period and went coast-to-coast, scoring two, bringing the Panthers into double digits 10-13. The Panthers turned the ball over repeatedly but were able to keep the Wildcats close.
Matt Allen was whistled for a technical foul and Wildcat Trent Maddox went to the line and knocked down both shots, putting the Panthers farther behind 10-15.
The first half ended in a flurry of Wildcat shots with the Panther down 14-19.
The third period saw the Panthers come alive as they were able to shut down the Wildcats shooting while elevating there own, outscoring their opponent 13-6.
The fourth period the Wildcats returned the favor and the Panthers were not able to overcome their border rivals shooting prowess. The Panthers had to foul to get the ball back during the last minute of the game and sent Wildcat after Wildcat to the charity stripe. The Panthers could only watch as their Class A dreams slipped away.
The Panthers have struggled scoring recently and had only half as many opportunities, going six for seven from the charity stripe, as did the Wildcats, who chalked up 13 for 14.
Every shot was contested throughout the low-scoring game with the Panthers getting a lot of good looks, but the ball would not fall through the cylinder.
Obviously disappointed in the outcome, Head Coach Carroll Yager cited poor execution as one reason for the loss.
Mental errors and the physicality of the game led to poor point production when it mattered most, Yager said.
Chris Hendrick was the only Panther to make the All-Tournament team.
Chris Hendrick, 9 points; Will Yager, 9; D.C. Craig, 6; Casey Cable, 5; Jesse Proctor, 4.