Panthers slip by Grand Saline for district win

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The Alba-Golden Panthers did just enough to clip the Grand Saline Indians 35-32 last Tuesday in Grand Saline. The Panthers came through at critical times to produce a score or generate a defensive turnover. 

Back-to-back scores by Boedy Baker on two offensive rebound put-backs gave Alba-Golden its first lead of the night early. Tim Mitchell followed that up by going a long way to close an Indian shooter and block his 3-point shot attempt. 

Active as always, Jon-Michael Chadwick (19 points on the night) closed the first quarter with a short jumper and a driving score. The tone-setting play of the second quarter was the sprint of Mitchell and Baker to run down an Indian fast break. They blocked the breakaway shot.  At the half, the Panthers led 16-15.

Chadwick dominated the third quarter, putting up 11 points. Alba-Golden’s defense stymied the Indians in the quarter. The Panthers held a 9-point edge with one quarter to play.

Grand Saline made four 3-pointers in the final stanza and threatened the Panthers late. Three critical plays preserved the win for the visitors. With 3:30 to play Baker hit a nice fall-away jumper in the lane to open the lead back to 5 points. Baker scored again at the 1:17 mark with a strong inside move. 

In the last minute, Mitchell sacrificed himself in the chase for a loose ball which saved the possession for the Panthers. In the final seconds, Hayden Weissert drove the basket to seal the win.

The Panthers completed the regular season Tuesday against Rains, having secured the fourth-place playoff spot.

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