Turnovers do in Panthers
The Benton Panthers executed their game plan, but in the end, turnovers would doom them as the West No. 3 seed Panthers fell 38-35 to the East No. 6 seed Pine Bluff Zebras Wednesday in the first round of the 6A State Tournament at Lake Hamilton High School.
After junior Jai Peters last-second 3-pointer gave the Panthers a 30-25 lead over the Zebras after three quarters, Pine Bluff started the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run begun by a 3-pointer and layup by senior Caleb Parker. Junior Cadarius Baggett’s bucket assisted by senior DeQuan Morris put the Zebras (20-8) up 34-30 with 1:59 to play in the game.
Peters would go 4 for 4 from the free-throw line to tie things up with 1:18 left, but Pine Bluff junior Kendrick Thorn hit 2 of 2 from the line for the two-point lead with 44 seconds left to play. But, the Panthers (20-9) would turn it over on the next possession with 30 seconds left resulting in a 1-and-1 try from Parker. He missed the first and Peters would get fouled on the other end. With 10 seconds remaining, Peters made 1 of 2 for the 36-35 Pine Bluff lead, and the Zebras did a good job avoiding contact as the Panthers couldn’t foul to put them at the line and Morris would seal the Zebra win with a dunk.