Photo by Joe Chitwood
Josh Margritz fires a crucial free throw in the fourth quarter.
The Hershey Panthers boys basketball team took on the Perkins County Plainsmen Friday in Grant and came away with a 41-36 victory.The teams traded baskets throughout the first quarter with the period ending in a 11-11 tie.
Perkins County gained momentum in the second quarter as the Panthers couldn't consistently connect on their shots. Hershey made the final two points of the half to close the gap to 5 and the Plainsmen went into the locker room leading 24-19. The third quarter was a low scoring affair, with the Panthers outscoring the Plainsmen 6-3 to cut the lead to 27-25.
The fourth started with Hershey going on a 6-0 run to take the lead 31-27 before the Plainsmen answered with two free throws to cut the Hershey lead to two points.
Perkins County recaptured the lead with their own 3 point run before Hershey once again hit two consecutive baskets. The teams continued to exchange baskets and missed open chances, enabling both teams to stay in the contest with neither team taking a commanding edge. Hershey went on another run to take a 5 point lead with 1:20 left in the contest.
With less than a minute to go, the Plainsmen fouled to send the Panthers to the line. Hershey missed both free throws and fouled on the rebound sending the Plainsmen to the line, where Perkins County hit the first but missed the second and immediately fouled, sending Hershey to the line.
Hershey’s Landon Maassen hit one of two to give the Panthers a 5 point lead with 20 seconds left. Perkins missed a 3 and fouled Josh Margaritz who hit one of 2. Perkins hit another free throw but ran out of time as Hershey held onto the ball and ran out the clock to win by a final score of 41-36.
With the win, Hershey ends their regular season at 4-18. Perkins County finished at 3-18.
Leading scorers for Hershey were Maassen with 14 and Dustin Streeter with 11. Leading the Plainsmen were Derek Sis with 11 and Tim Johnson with 9.
The Panthers proceed to a first round sub-district contest against Ogallala Monday at Sutherland. Perkins County will travel to Sidney to face Bayard in their first round sub-district.
"I thought our kids stuck together and played a pretty good second half,” Hershey coach Dustin Jorgenson said. “All season, in spite of the losses, this team has worked hard everyday. If they had been a team that quit, you wouldn't have seen them to continue to play the good defense that they did all season. They are good kids; they stick together. I am proud of them".
In the jayvee game, Hershey came away with the victory 29-21.