Nate Canfield getting air under the net. Allen Hamrick photo.

It was the perfect storm for Panther basketball this week as two of the toughest matchups they would face this year happened in one week. The Panthers are a fast paced, high flying act, and when they bring their show to the court and they hit the hoops, look out.

They took their show on the road to butt heads with the Hoover Huskies; everyone knows there is no love lost between the two schools when it comes to sports. This game was no different, and the odds of beating the Huskies on their own turf with their own crowd and their own pit would have been a sucker’s bet. However, if you’re a Panther fan, you know hype only fuels the rage on the courts.

Three of the Panthers went double digits in an all-out assault on the Huskies. Garrett Quinn was top shot with 15 points, followed by Isaac Workman and Thomas Haverty bucketing 14 each. In the third period, Isaac Workman fouled out and the bench got the job done picking up the slack. The Huskies made a run for it in the 4th period but came up short as the Panthers outscored them 22-20 in the 4th, making the final score Panther 60, Huskies 55. Then the most anticipated game of the season came on Friday night. It was homecoming night, and the Panthers didn’t draw a weak team so they could have an easy win for their hometown. Instead, they brought in a very talented team in the Webster Highlanders. The Highlanders came into the game 9-3 on the season and were ready to hand the Panthers their heads on a platter. When they first met early in the season, the Highlanders bested the Panthers 71-77. The Panthers would have to bring all they had to the dance floor to win. As I said, it was a perfect storm for the Panthers – they had a full house of fans on both sides of the gym. The Panther Pit was resurrected and was scary big, loud and full of spirit. The band joined in and rocked the house as the cheerleaders stretched their lungs, and the queen was waiting to be crowned. The scenario was perfect; all the Panthers needed to do was win.

The game got underway, and right off, the Panthers came out shooting and building a wall on defense.  The game was fast paced, and both teams went net for net. At the end of the first period, the Highlanders were up just two points on the Panthers. Nathan Canfield burnt the net up in the first period with 10 points. The rest of the team went to work in the 2nd and went 5 points ahead before the half, with the score laying Panthers 44, Highlanders 39. It was time for the parade of princesses and their escorts to usher in the new 2018 homecoming queen.

This year’s queen was Robynn McGlothlin, escorted by Grayson Adkins. Her crown bearer was Aleena Rose and her escort was Bentlee Rogers. Freshman Princess was Jacee Collins, escorted by Grant Krajeski. Sophomore Princess was Jordan Pierson, escorted by Dalton Salisbury. Junior Princess was Shiloh Miller, escorted by Nathaniel Brown. Senior Princess was Catilyn Murphy, escorted by Alex Grose. Once Queen Robynn was crowned by principal Crystal Gibson, she and her court exited and the game was underway once again. In the third period, both teams slowed down and took a powder on their shooting. At the end of the third, it was a dead heat at 51 each. The 4th period looked like more like a championship matchup with high scoring and down to the wire. When the basketballs were racked, it was the Panthers on top by the score of 74-72. It was a great game, and if the Panthers continue this level of playing who knows where it will lead?  Congrats to the Panthers on the homecoming win and to the queen and her court. Go Panthers!