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April 6, 2008

Panthers squeak past Gauchos in Spring Fling semis

On Sunday, as Gauchos starters sat helplessly on the stands they would watch a dominant NYC Panthers shoot out to an early lead that took an entire game to etch into.

Unfortunately the Gauchos would come up one point short and lose to the Panthers in the semifinals of the Spring Phase ll 17U Tournament 47-46

A sluggish start gave way to an explosive flurry of buckets by the Panthers who ran off a 9-0 run led by the Panthers small but explosive guards William Williams and Hofstra-bound Chaz Williams.

It didn't help that Gaucho starters, Russ Smith, Doron Lamb & James Stukes did not suit up apparently punished for missing curfew. The Panthers had late arrivals as Kevin Parrom and Winston Graham didn't step on the court until 5 minutes into the first half.

The Panthers were clearly taking advantage until Tevin Baskins got the fire started for the Gauchos who were now behind 16-5 punctuated by an Omari Lawrence thunder dunk with 5:11 left in the half.

The Panther offensive was a machine as Chaz Williams pushed the rock kicking it to Graham and Lawrence. Parrom and Malik Patterson provided a strong defensive wall, limiting Gaucho looks.

Even Gauchos turnovers became turnovers as a Chaz Williams lay-up at the buzzer ended the half with the Gaucho down 26-11.

After a fierce talking to at the half the Gauchos struck hard off a Durand Scott assist to Baskins followed by a bucket by Trevon Hamlett off a Scott miss.

Tyreak Johnson ran the point for the Gauchos but a turnover and a foul put Mike Poole on the line for two followed by a William Williams basket from the corner putting the Panthers up by 17 points one quarter through the second half.

Scott urged his teammates but buckets were simply not dropping for the Gauchos.

Durand Scott would provide some offensive spark for the Gauchos but with their main firepower sitting in the stands grounded, the Panthers exploited the weakness.

Signs of life emerged, however, as Scott and Markel Rice provided a spark, cutting the Panther lead to 8 with 8:31 left but quick baskets by C. Williams and Lawrence pushed the lead back to 12.

The Panther defense would lapse in the last 5 minutes and the Gauchos manage to pull to within 6 as Johnson was fouled while taking a three and netted all three from the free throw line.

Baskins would score a tough one on the inside followed by a 3 by Johnson and suddenly the Gauchos were within 2 points with 3 minutes left in regulation.

C. Williams attempted to push back by scoring a quick bucket on a stop and pop but then committed a foul. Scott would power in for a bucket and with a minute-thirty and the Panthers still holding a 2 point lead, it was anybodies game.

Parrom inbounded ball to the freshman guard Sterling Gibbs who tried to hand off the ball to C. Williams but it was picked off by Scott who flipped it to Baskins for the tie at 46 with 8 seconds remaining.

C. Williams got sandwiched on the next possession by 2 gaucho defenders and would hit one from the line putting them up by one for the Panthers win 47-46.

High scorers for the Panthers was Omari Lawrence with 16 points and Chaz and William Williams with 11 apiece. Durand Scott had 12 points for the Gauchos. The Panthers would now go on to face the Playaz Club Red in the championship, who defeated D.C. Assault 59-55, to get into the championship round.

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