Boys Varsity Basketball · Panthers unable to stay with Mt. Juliet

Dec 19, 2018

The Portland boys came into Friday night’s district match-up against Mt. Juliet at a disadvantage with just seven players dressed for the game and playing one of the favorites in league play.

But the Panthers battled hard in the first half before falling to the Bears 55-31 to drop to 4-5 on the season.

“When we moved the basketball around, we had a chance,” coach Darryl Travis said. “When we try to do things ourselves, it wasn’t pretty.”

Portland led in the first quarter 10-6 before the visitors went on a 17-0 run that stretched into the second quarter that produced a double-digit advantage.

“Mt. Juliet had more depth and size and outran us tonight,” Travis explained. “They are a good team with good shooters, three or four big kids inside and two long kids. One of those kids has committed to Alabama to play football.”

Despite the loss, Travis saw some positives come out of the ballgame.

“I thought we competed tonight and competed on the boards,” Travis said. “We were outrebounded, but we were going up against men. We do need to shoot better. We were eight of 22 in shooting twos and four of nine from the 3-point line.”

Austin Hicks led the way for the Panthers with 14 points with Mitchell Eagle netting six and Duncan Smallwood adding four. Hunter Hicks tallied three and Jakeb Hester and Connor Simmons each had two.

The Panthers got on the scoreboard at the 5:15 mark when Eagle hit a lane shot and Austin Hicks made back to back 3-pointers and Smallwood connected for a 10-6 lead.

However, the Bears rolled off 17 unanswered points that ended at the 1:45 mark of the second when Hicks scored to cut the difference to 11, 23-12.

Hicks would later knock home another 3-point bucket that left PHS trailing 26-15 at intermission.

The Bears opened the second half with three straight baskets to extend their lead to 32-15. Hicks nailed another shot from the 3-point arc, but Mt. Juliet added seven straight points for a 19-point margin late in the third.

Hester canned a shot and Hunter Hicks dropped in a single foul shot for the Panthers before Will Pruitt closed the action with a 3-pointer to give the Bears a 42-23 advantage.

The visitors opened the final eight minutes of action with a pair of 3-pointers and a 3-point play to stretch the lead to 28, 51-23 at the five-minute mark.

Eagle netted four points in the final four minutes and Hunter Hicks and Smallwood each scored twice.

Gavin Wilson led all scorers with 16 points with Pruitt adding nine.

Portland travels to East Robertson Friday night.