Panthers hold off unbeaten Red Raiders, 44-42
WAMEGO — Coming up with a defensive stop on the final possession of the game was a fitting way for the Concordia Panthers to cap off a 44-42 North Central Kansas League victory over previously unbeaten Wamego Friday night.
Concordia, which had played solid defense throughout the game, took a 44-42 lead on Wamego when 6-6 Chase Parker scored inside with 20 seconds to play in the game.
The Panthers clamped down defensively one last time, forcing Jake Fritz into a well-guarded shot that was off the mark as time expired.
“The last possession of the game, we go up two, we want man and we guarded them well,” Concordia coach Derek Holmes said. “We told the kids during the timeout, one stop and one rebound and we win this game, and we did it.”
Concordia improved to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in league play with the win.
Wamego falls to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the NCKL.
“They were undefeated. That was a big win for us,” Holmes said.
Concordia, which had not played a game since December 15, because of COVID-19 related issues and the extended semester break, held Wamego to 16 points below its season average of 58 points per game in picking up the win.
“We are not real smooth on offense yet. We still have too many turnovers. We got out of sync a little bit. The ball sticks too much a little bit. So that is a work in progress. So we have got to hang our hat on getting loose balls, rebounding and defending. That is how we are winning games right now,” Holmes said.
Outscoring Wamego 25-13 in the second and third quarters combined, the Panthers took a 35-29 lead into the final eight minutes of the game.
Concordia led 41-36 when 6-5 Tanner Hecht completed a three-point play to pull the Red Raiders within two points, 41-39, with 1:59 on the clock.
Hecht, who was averaging 24 points per game, was limited to just 11.
“We did a great job on him (Hecht). We rotated guys. The kids followed the game plan well,” Holmes said.
Cav Carlgren made one of two free throws with 1:50 on the clock to give Concordia a 42-39 advantage.
The Panthers came up with a steal and Carlgren was fouled again with 1:03 remaining.
Carlgren missed the front end of a one-and-one opportunity, and Wamego came down with the rebound.
A three-point basket by Colin Donahue with 40 seconds to play pulled the Red Raiders even with Concordia at 42-42.
The Panthers would get the ball inside to Parker, who scored 20 seconds later to make it a 44-42 game.
Parker finished the game with 10 points, five rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists.
Following a timeout, the Red Raiders struggled to get a good look at the basket against the pesky Concordia defense, and Fritz misfired as time expired.
Wyatt Trost matched Parker with 10 points for the Panthers, and also had four rebounds and three assists.
Vignery added nine points on three of four shootings from three-point range.
Tyler Hobrock scored eight points and grabbed six rebounds.
Carlgren finished with five rebounds and five assists.
The Panthers shot 50 percent (18 of 36) from the field and hit 5 of 10 free throws.
Burk Springer scored 11 points for Wamego.
Concordia scored the first points of the game on a three by Vignery.
Consecutive threes by Springer and Fritz and a steal and a layup by Springer put Wamego up 8-3.
The Red Raiders would carry the lead into the second quarter.
A jumper by Hecht early in the second period put the Red Raiders up 16-10.
Hobrock scored inside, Vignery buried another three and Trost scored on a drive to give Concordia the lead back at 17-16.
A three by Donahue put Wamego back on top, 19-17.
The Red Raiders would not score again before halftime.
Back-to-back baskets by Parker, a follow by Aceyn Cash and a layup in the final seconds of the half gave Concordia a 25-19 lead.
The Panthers upped their lead to eight points early in the second half.
Wamego got as close as four points, 31-27.
Parker scored the final four points of the third quarter to make it a 35-27 game.
A three by White early in the final period got Wamego within five points, 35-30.
Trost scored on a drive to make it 37-30.
Wamego then used a 12-5 run to pull even at 42-42.
Parker’s basket put the Panthers ahead, and they were able to hold on for the win.
“They fight and play so hard. That is one of the things I love about this group,” Holmes said. “We don’t always play as smart as we need to. We need to get better at that, but we fight. We played so hard, and that is huge.”
Concordia will return to action Tuesday night when it hosts Marysville on Tuesday night.
Marysville defeated the Panthers 63-54 in their last game, prior to semester break.
Vignery 3-0-2 9, Trost 5-0-1 10, Cash 2-0-4 4, Carlgren 0-3-1 3, Hobrock 4-0-1 8, Parker 4-2-2 10. Totals: 18-5-11 44.
White 2-0-2 5, Fritz 1-0-2 3, Donahue 3-0-0 8, Springer 5-0-3 11, Rowden 1-0-0 2 Hecht 5-1-2 11, Schoenbeck 0-2-2 2, Shea 0-0-2 0. Totals: 17-3-13 42.