CHURCH HILL – The home-standing Panthers held off a furious late rally by the West Greene Buffaloes for a 37-31 victory Friday night at Church Hill Middle School.
After Lucas Gilliam gave the Panthers a 32-20 lead on a put-back with 5:18 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Buffaloes began their comeback.
A three by Keatton Potter cut the lead to 32-23.
After a Gilliam free throw extended the lead back to 33-23, West Greene’s Elijah Williams scored on a drive to cut it to 33-25.
Williams then hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to 33-28 with 1:32 to go.
With :18 left to play, Potter hit another three to trim the lead to 33-31.
Forced to foul, West Greene sent Colton Miller and Gilliam to the line for one-and-ones in the final 15 seconds and both Panthers hit both shots to preserve the win.
The Panthers had broke open a close game in the second quarter with an 11-0 run for their biggest lead of the game, 23-9. A three by Ethan Carpenter stopped the run in the half’s final minute as Church Hill took a 23-12 lead into the break.
The Panthers maintained an eight- to 10-point lead for most of the second half until West Greene’s late rally.
Miller led all scorers with 15, including one of Church Hill’s two three-pointers. Gilliam added 13, including five of six from the free throw line.
Williams led West Greene with 14 points, including one of West Greene’s four three-pointers. Potter scored six on the two late threes.