Panthers start fast, hold off Campbell in opener

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The Alba-Golden boys basketball team successfully started their 2020 campaign, defeating the Campbell Indians 55–43 last Tuesday at home.

The Panthers’ new roundball coach Craig Philo had just one week with his team after the end of football season to introduce them to his style of coaching. “We still have a ways to go to refine and understand everything,” he stated. 

They already seem to be off on the right foot.

There did appear to be occasional remnants of the gridiron spilling over onto the hardcourt with many whistles to accompany a couple tackles and a few fumbles. No yellow flags appeared, nor did white ones despite a fast start by the Panthers.

Alba-Golden opened the season with 16 unanswered points led by senior post Jacob Dailey contributing 8 early toward his tally of 13 on the night.

Campbell went scoreless until making a free throw with 55 seconds remaining in the first quarter, to which they added a three-pointer just 30 seconds later.

The score favored the Panthers 20-4 after eight minutes.

The Indians scored just a single two-point field goal in the first half, indicative of Panther defensive pressure, successful clogging of the lane and some poor Indian shooting.

Tim Mitchell had five first-half buckets for 10 points and went on to lead the Panthers’ scoring with 16 total to go with his solid defensive play.

Alba-Golden owned a commanding 33-15 lead at the halfway break.

The Panthers never relinquished the lead, but they may have learned something about playing with one against Campbell. 

With over half the group playing their first varsity contest Tuesday, the new recruits saw serious playing time when seniors Mitchell, Jon Michael Chadwick and Hayden Weissert racked up several personal fouls and subsequently rode pine for extended stretches.

“I am not happy with foul trouble problems or giving up a lead, but it’s a learning process to play at the varsity level.” With just a week of prep, Coach Philo said, “The team competed hard and have nothing to feel bad about for a first game.”

With a seemingly safe 19-point advantage after three quarters, the Panthers started to burn clock in the fourth, resulting in their offense briefly stalling out. Reaching the bonus quickly allowed Campbell to climb back into the game via free throws, going 8 of 10 at the line and outscoring the Panthers 17–9 in the fourth period, but it was hardly enough to close the gap to catch Alba-Golden.

Once Mitchell, Chadwick and Weissert returned to the floor, they helped secure a season-opening victory by an 11-point margin.

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