Cold spell hits Panthers in one-point loss
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Going as cold as the weather outside, the Russellville Panthers couldn't overcome a dismal second quarter in a one-point home loss Tuesday in a battle of regional powers.
The most telling statistic in Warren Central's 71-70 win over RHS was neither Central's 42-29 rebounding margin nor the Dragons' 8 percentage points shooting margin.
Instead it was the 7 minutes and 35 seconds the Panthers went without scoring a single point.
When Trevor Clark scored on a runout via a long pass from D.J. Quarles, RHS led 29-19 with 7:20 remaining in the second quarter. Just before the next time a Panther scored-- on a pair of free throws by Davonta Bryant, the clock showed 7:45 in the third quarter and Central leading 37-29, an 18-point turnaround.
In addition to some shots going in and then spinning out, the difference came from the Dragons taking the ball to the basket and the Panthers settling for outside shots. Russellville has a marvelously athletic team, including the top five backs from the regional finalist football team, but except for Kevin Temple, they quit using their strength and quickness. And they stopped running. A stat kept on the Panther bench tracks transition points. Russellville had 16 transition points in the first quarter and 13 in the fourth, but almost none in between.
Central's Jacob King, who had hit 4 of 6 three-pointers, learned first hand what can happen when a Panther uses his strength to drive the lane. His knee came into contact with Bryant's body with six minutes left in the third quarter, and King wasn't able to return to the court the rest of the game.
Not taking the ball to the goal also cost the Panthers trips to the foul line. Central hit 19 of 27 free throws; Russellville 6 of 12.
Still the Panthers put themselves in position to win against a highly regarded team that features two of the state's top-ranked juniors, center George Fant and guard Jordan Shanklin. This was Shanklin's first game of the season as he recovers from an injury. He scored 13 points in 20 minutes, but made 6 turnovers. The tall and quick Fant dominated the paint, scoring 16 points and pulling down 16 rebounds, more than double the Panthers' top rebounder, guard Quarles.
The Panthers stayed in contention by hitting long shots (10 of 24 three-pointers) and by forcing the Dragons into turnovers (20 as compared to the Panthers' 12).
The tallest Panther, Justin Bollenbecker, took 10 three-pointers, hitting 7. He finished with a game-high 20 points. By staying on the perimenter, however, he managed only two rebounds, as did Clark, who is still somewhat hobbled from knee surgery.
The Dragons led by 12 twice in the fourth quarter, the last coming when Shamarcus Wells stole an inbounds pass and stuck it back in the goal to make it 66-54 with 5:22 left in the game. Russellville then mounted a comeback. Bryant, Damien Elam and Temple each hit goals and Bollenbecker sank a trey to cut the lead to 67-64 with 49.3 seconds showing. After a free throw by Central's Troy Halcomb, Bollenbecker hit another three-pointer to slice the lead to 68-67 with 21.2 seconds.
Central's Denzel Carpenter hit a pair of free throws to triple the margin, and then Bollenbecker overshot the goal completely on his three-point attempt from the right corner. Carpenter when back to the line and hit the clinching foul shot with 2.3 seconds remaining.
Bollenbecker hit a shot from almost half court at the buzzer, but it counted only three, not four, and the game ended with Central winning 71-70.The Dragons didn't hit a field goal the final 5:22, that one coming on the steal by Wells, who is the son of former Panther basketball player Willie Wells, one of the top performers on Russellville's 1975 state championship track team. The younger Wells totaled 8 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
In addition to Bollenbecker's 20 points, Quarles had 10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a blocked shot. Elam had a sparkling 9 assists and 7 points. Victor Hampton, who earned a start with his performance in helping the Panthers win the First Southern National Bank/Roy's Bar-B-Q Christmas Classic the week before, scored 11 points, as did Temple. Bryant added 9 points.
Russellville will take a 9-3 record to Logan County for a Clash of the Cats Friday night, weather permitting..
Score by Quarters: 1) RHS 24-29, 2) Central 37-29, 3) Central 57-46, Final) Warren Central 71, Russellville 70
WC (71)
George Fant 16, Jordan Shanklin 13, Jacob King 12, Shamarcus Wells 9, Carpenter 7, Halcomb 6, Boards 6, Barber 2, Jackson, Sheldon
RHS (70) Justin Bollenbecker 20, Victor Hampton 11, Kevin Temple 11, D.J. Quarles 10, Davonta Bryant 9, Damien Elam 7, Trevor Clark 2, Pardue, Murphy, Kennedy

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