Slow out of the gate, the Concordia Panthers hit their stride in the second quarter and trotted to a 69-41 victory over Smoky Valley Friday night in the Concordia Junior-Senior High School gymnasium.
Concordia fell behind Smoky Valley 9-4 to start the game, and led just 16-15 heading into the second period.
It was an 18-17 game when the Panthers put together a 20-4 blitz to open up a 38-21 halftime advantage.
Concordia, now 2-1, scored the first six points of the second half and the Vikings were never able to make a run.
“I thought, overall, we gave ourselves a lot of opportunities to score. We didn’t shoot the ball well from the free throw line, but we took high quality shots,” Concordia coach Michael Roe said.
The Panthers were just 19 of 34 from the line for 56 percent, but made 22 of 41 field goal attempts from inside the three-point arc for 54 percent and were 24 of 50 from the floor for 48 percent.
Winless Smoky Valley got five points from Cole Norberg in getting out to the early 9-4 lead.
“I don’t know if it was nerves or we just weren’t ready for how the officials were going to call the game,” Roe said.
Concordia had three players pick up two fouls each in the first 7:30 of the game.
The Vikings still led 12-9 when Ethan Bechard and Cooper Holmes each scored off of offensive rebounds to put Concordia up 13-12.
The Panthers would not trail again.
Norberg made one of two free throws to pull Smoky Valley even at 13-13.
Holmes hit a three, and Concordia led 16-13.
Scoring on a drive, Norberg got Smoky Valley within a point, 18-17.
Concordia scored the next eight points to open up a 26-17 advantage.
Smoky Valley got as close as seven points, 28-21.
Holmes scored on a drive and then knocked down his second three to start a 10-0 Concordia spurt over the final 3:02 of the first half that made it a 38-21 game.
Holmes finished 9 of 13 from the field and five of nine from the line in scoring 25 points. The 6-4 sophomore also had eight rebounds and three steals.
“His outside shot started to fall. He knocked down a couple of threes and that makes him so much more of a dangerous player to guard. If you go out to guard him he can go around you,” Roe said.
A jumper by Grant Holmes, two free throws by Kaleb Pounds and a basket by Cooper Holmes upped Concordia’s lead to 44-21 in the third quarter.
Grant Holmes scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Concordia.
Trey Schneider scored for Smoky Valley, but the Panthers responded with seven unanswered points to make it 51-23.
Concordia led 55-30 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
The Panthers led by as many as 30 points on their way to the win.
Pounds finished with eight points, five assists and three steals for Concordia.
Bechard and Gilberth Garcia added six points each.
Ian Nordell came off the bench to grab five rebounds in limited minutes.
“All of our new kids are coming together and starting to feel a little more comfortable on the floor,” Roe said.
Schneider led Smoky Valley with 11 points.
Norberg had nine points for the Vikings.
Concordia will host Marysville in a North Central Kansas League game on Tuesday night.
SMOKY VALLEY (41)
Schrag 0-0-2 0, Norberg 3-3-5 9, Hansen 1-0-2 2, Meier 1-1-0 3, Byers 1-0-1 2, A. Schneider 5-0-4 11, Gonzalez 4-0-4 8, T. Schneider 2-0-2 4, Elvin 1-0-4 2, Couchman 1-0-3 2. Totals: 18-4-27 41.
Mares 1-0-0 2, Coppoc 1-0-3 2, Pounds 2-4-3 8, Garcia 2-2-0 6, Streeter 0-0-1 0, Wetter 0-1-0 1, Bechard 2-2-1 6, G. Holmes 6-4-2 16, Nordell 1-1-1 3, C. Holmes 9-5-3 25. Totals: 24-19-14 69.