On Friday afternoon, the Peninsula Panthers JV Boys Basketball Team traveled down to Redondo Union High School to challenged the undefeated Sea Hawks for a share of first place in the Bay League.
The Panthers were short-handed due to the flu big hitting them hard. The Panthers were without their big man Fola Saliu and reserve forward Mario Lopez who were both home with the flu. Junior Donte Buchanon, and sophomores Kurt Milch, Grey Goodman were all valiantly trying to play through the illness. The Panthers were short-handed in physical numbers but they played with the heart and desire of a Champion.
The game began with the Panthers appearing sluggish and out of sorts, they missed wide open lay-ups and several short to mid-range jumpers. The Sea Hawks took advantage of this slow start by the Panthers and quickly jumped out to a 12-2 lead. The Panthers took a much needed time out and came out of the time more focused and quickly cut the Sea Hawk lead to 6 and the first quarter ended with the Panthers trailing 19-13. The second quarter began just as the first one had ended with the Panthers and Sea Hawks trading baskets and the Sea Hawks and Panthers both scored 11 points in the quarter and Redondo went into halftime holding a 30-24 advantage.
The Panthers came out in the third quarter and appeared to be physically drained and their valiant 1st half effort seemed to be short lived. Redondo continued its assault on the Panthers and they were able to push the lead to 10 points at the end of the 3rd quarter, leading 46-36. Redondo was able to increase the lead to as much as 16 points in the fourth quarter when The Panthers put forth an incredible effort and began to chip away at what seemed like an insurmountable lead. As time was winding down the Panthers were able to cut the lead to 3 points with 13.2 seconds left in regulation.
The Panthers called a timeout and came out of the break with a look of determination on their faces. The play was set-up to get Junior Donte Buchanon a 3 point shot attempt near the top of the key. The play worked perfectly and Buchanon had a wide open look initially but a Sea Hawk made a lunge at Buchanon just as he was releasing the ball. The shot went up and as everyone in the gym held their breathe the ball hit off the rim into the backboard and down into the arms of a Redondo player. The Panthers immediately fouled and the Redondo player made 1 of 2 free throws to seal the victory.
The Panthers were led by Junior Donte Buchanon with 16 points, Sophomore Kurt Milch with 14 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals, and Junior Kurt Murakami with 8 points. Panthers gave it a valiant effort and never used any excuses, they simply came out and gave it everything they could and in the end Redondo proved to be the better team with a 58-54 victory.
The Panthers are currently 11-5 and 4-2 in league play and have four league games remaining. The Panthers will play host to the Leuzinger Olympians on Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. at the Peninsula Gymnasium and they would love to see a huge turnout for the final two home games of the season. The final home game for the Panthers will be against Palos Verdes High School on Friday at a special time of 3 p.m., so please come out and support the JV Boys as they continue their journey through the Bay League campaign.