Panthers rally falls short, lose to Andale 72-66

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PARK CITY — The Andale Indians bounced back quicker from a heartbreaking loss the night before than the Concordia Panthers did.
Top-seeded Andale, a 44-43 loser to Eudora in the Class 4A-Division II semifinals on Friday, built an 18-point lead in the second half of the third-place game on third-seeded Concordia, which fell 77-75 to Scott Community.
Concordia made a late run to pull within four points before falling 72-66 to the Indians Saturday afternoon at Hartman Arena.
"We didn't execute very well what we wanted do. I don't know if that was due to the night before or not. They just came out and were the aggressors," Concordia coach Michael Roe said.
Concordia finished up the season 19-6.
"It is going to take a little time. I think they realize that they did some things no other Concordia team has done," Roe said, "Any team that made it to the weekend in the state tournament should be pleased. We told them that the difference between the third-place game and the championship game was three points. There wasn't much difference between the final four teams."
Concordia, which led just once in the game,  fell behind 13-4 in the first six minutes.
"We missed some shots, and they kind of forced us to miss some shots with their size and athleticism," Roe said.
Getting seven straight points from Grant Holmes, the Panthers closed the gap to 13-11.
Clint Walstad hit a jumper, and Andale led 15-11 heading into the second quarter.
A three-point basket by Kaleb Pounds pulled Concordia within one point, 15-14, early in the second period.
Andale got consecutive baskets by 6-5 Jeffery Ast, and led 19-14.
Ast finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. He was 10 of 14 from the field.
A three by Pounds, a free throw by Ethan Bechard and a bucket by Cooper Holmes gave Concordia its only lead, 20-19.
Grant Holmes, the all-time leading scorer in Concordia history picked up his third foul early in the second quarter, and had to go to the bench.
Andale went on a 9-2 spurt to grab a 28-22 lead.
"That is something that happens in games, and you have to handle it," Roe said of Holmes getting into foul trouble, "We needed to have other people step up , and we really didn't have anybody do that. We just kind of weathered the storm until the second half."
Cooper Holmes hit a three to cut the deficit to three points, 28-25, with 1:15 to play in the first half.
Hitting 10 of 20 field goal attempts and four of five free throws, Cooper Holmes scored 26 points. He also pulled down nine rebounds.
Ast knocked down his third three of the season to give Andale a 31-25 advantage.
The Indians then opened the second half with a 10-2 run to go up 41-27.
During that stretch Grant Holmes was hit with his fourth foul.
Cooper Holmes scored on a drive, but Andale would outscore the Panthers 8-2 over the next 3:13 to go up 49-31.
The Indians led 49-35 heading into the fourth quarter.
Trailing 56-41, the Panthers mounted a comeback.
Grant Holmes hit a three and then scored inside, Cooper Holmes made two free throws and Grant Holmes followed up a missed shot to close the gap to 59-50.
Concordia kept chipping away, and made it a 66-62 game when Cooper Holmes completed a three-point play with 1:22 remaining.
"Our kids understand they are capable of playing good basketball. I asked them to keep fighting, and they did," Roe said.
Hunter Knoblauch made one of two free throws for Andale.
Grant Holmes missed a three-point attempt, and the ball went out of bounds to Andale.
A layup by Avery Roe put Andale up 69-62 with 42 seconds on the clock.
Concordia would get back within four points, 70-66 on a basket by Grant Holmes, but time ran out on the Panthers.
"It is going to be tough to come back. We couldn't get them to miss a free throw, and when they did we missed the shot," Roe said.
Despite sitting significant minutes, Grant Holmes led Concordia with 27 points and eight rebounds. He was 8 of 23 from the field and nine of nine from the line.
Concordia shot 38 percent (23 of 60) from the floor and 94 percent (15 of 16) from the line.
Hermreck scored 16 points for Andale, and Lane Macari added 13 points.
The Indians were 24 of 47 from the field for 53 percent and 18 of 26 from the line for 69 percent.
"Andale is a great team. They have great size and good perimeter play. They had the best combination of that of anybody in the state tournament," Roe said.

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