Lovett Edges Therrell 56-54 In Thrilling Regular Season Finish
On Tuesday, the Therrell Panthers boys basketball team, hosted the Lovett Lions in a rematch from their match up back on January 11, in which the Lions picked up the 55-45 win. With Tuesday’s contest being the final game of the regular season for both teams and Lovett with a one game lead in the region standings over Therrell, who was celebrating their senior night, fans in attendance were in for a treat as the game would go down to the wire.
Right out of the gate, the game would go back and forth with several lead changes throughout. The panthers would open up on a 6-2 run, led by MJ Matthews (16 points), but would get outscored 14-8 down the stretch of the opening period by the Lions and would trail 16-14 at the end of the quarter. The second quarter would see a few more lead changes, including Therrell regaining the lead seconds before the quarter came to an end as Djibril Berry hit a corner 3-point basket to give the Panthers a 31-30 lead at the half.
By the end of the third quarter, it was the Lions back on top 40-39, but the Panthers would open the fourth quarter on a 11-7 run to regain the lead. However, that lead would not last long as Lovett’s Christian Anderson (26 points) would knock down a huge 3-point basket to tie the game at 50 all. Later, Anderson would hit another three that would help the Lions go back on top 53-52, but Therrell’s Amir Banks would come up with a clutch drive and score, putting the Panthers back up by one (54-53) with less than a minute to go in the game.
After advancing the ball, the Lions would call timeout and talk things over with head coach, Mike Harner, and out of the timeout, the Lions would look to get the ball into the hot hands of Anderson and it would prove to be the right play drawn up as Anderson would connect on a corner three and draw the foul. The basket would give Lovett a 56-54 lead with :11 remaining in the game and although, Anderson would fail to make good on the free throw, the Lions would escape with the win as Therrell’s final shot would not drop.
After the win, Harner acknowledge that his team knew they would have a tough one on their hands. “We knew it was going to be a dog fight, Therrell is a well coached team, they play hard, they’ve got great size inside, that was a grind,” Harner said of Tuesday night’s win over Therrell. Of the possession that led to the Anderson three point basket for the lead, Harner said ball security was key in leading to the basket. “We took care of the basketball enough, got him [Anderson] off a couple screens and I’ll trust it all day for him to take that game winning shot,” Harner said.