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Panorama Boys Top ACGC, 59-47, in District Tourney

It was a "rubber match" game. The teams had played twice during the regular season, with each winning on its opponent's home court. It is a rivalry game every time these teams meet and this one was no exception.

Such was the case in Thursday's district semifinal game between Panorama and ACGC which was played in Van Meter. The Panthers managed to get the leather ball to go through the orange ring twenty three times compared to eighteen times for the Chargers. The result? The Panthers came away with a 59-47 win and advanced to the district championship game.

ACGC started the game with some good shooting, hitting five of its first seven shots to lead 11-9 with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter. Miles Kading and Jedd Weinkoetz each scored twice for the Chargers in the early going. The Panthers took the lead at 14-11 on a trifecta by Braylon Dawes thirty seconds later, and Panorama led for the remainder of the game.

Leading by a 17-13 margin after the first quarter, Panorama scored on three of its first four possessions in the second stanza, while ACGC failed to score on its first four tries. The Panthers connected on nine of twelve shots in the quarter to build a 37-25 halftime lead.

Unofficial statistics indicate that Panorama shot a remarkable 67% from the field in the first half, as the team was successful on sixteen of twenty four shot attempts. ACGC shot a very respectable 48%, but made just ten shots in the half, allowing the Panthers to take the double digit lead.

Jared Wasson and Brice Taylor each scored in double figures in the half for Panorama with 11 and 10 points respectively, while Kading led the Chargers with 14 first half points.

The teams essentially exchanged baskets following the intermission. Panorama's largest lead was sixteen which it reached on four occasions in the third quarter before the Chargers closed the deficit to 48-37 by quarter's end.

ACGC made just two free throws on its first nine possessions in the final frame, but the Panthers also scored just two points in the first four minutes and ACGC closed the gap to 50-41. Desperate to get the ball, the Chargers began fouling to stop the clock.

Initially the strategy worked, as the Panthers missed three consecutive one and one free throw attempts and the Chargers got within seven points at 52-45 with 1:19 remaining. Panorama then made seven of eight charity tosses in the last minute of the game to clinch the win.

Panorama coach Nick Peasley praised his players following the game with these words: "Toughness wins in the post season and in this game with many mistakes, our toughness won it. Hats off to our players."

Four Panthers scored in double figures, with Wasson leading the way with 23 points. Dawes had 12, with Taylor and Draper each netting 10. The Panthers shot 56% from the floor, as they connected on 23 of 41 attempts that included 5 three pointers. They made 8 of 14 free throws for 57%.

Kading led ACGC in scoring, coming up with 23 points in his final game for the Chargers. Ben Marsh also scored in double figures with 12 points. The Chargers shot 36% for the game on 18 makes out of 50 tries and made 8 of 16 free throws for 50%. They made just 3 treys out of 26 attempts.

"It was just one of those nights. We were ice cold from three point range," Charger mentor Lance Kading said following the game. "We had some success inside, but overall Panorama did a nice job of clogging up the paint with help defense. So, in turn, we kicked it out to our open shooters. If we shot our average rate we would have won the game. For whatever reason, our shots weren't falling last night.

"When you look at the box score and see the discrepancy in filed goal percentages, you would think we should have lost by twenty five," Kading continued. "But we were within seven points in the final two minutes. I am very proud of the fight our guys put up until the very end."

With the loss, the Chargers' season comes to a close with a 17-5 record and a third place finish in conference play. Panorama improves to 15-8 for the season, and "lives to see another day."

The Panthers will face Van Meter in the district final on Tuesday, February 22 in Creston. The winner of that game will play in the sub state game which will determine the class 2A state tournament qualifier from substate number 8. Red Oak plays at Treynor, also on the 22nd, to determine the other substate finalist. The substate game will be played in Guthrie Center on Saturday, February 26.

Score by quarter:

Panorama 17 20 11 11--59

ACGC 13 12 12 10--47

ACGC statistics: (TP-REB-ASTS-STLS) Marsh(12-1-3-1) Solorzano(0-1-1-0) Bunde(5-0-1-3) MKading(21-6-4-3) NKading(0-2-0-0) Littler(3-0-2-2) Policky(1-3-0-0) Weinkoetz(5-3-0-1)

Panorama statistics: Hammerstrom(2-7-1-0) Draper(10-7-0-0) Dawes(12-5-3-0) Taylor(10-2-6-1) Bremer(2-1-0-1) Wasson(23-13-1-1) Block(0-2-4-0) Van Winkle(0-0-0-0) Norman(0-0-0-0) Peasley(0-0-0-0)

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