The top-seeded Slater boys basketball team looked the part Tuesday in the semifinal round of the Otterville Holiday Classic.
In a No. 1 versus No. 5 matchup, the Wildcats led Prairie Home with Bunceton boys from start to finish for a 83-37 victory.
Slater, 7-1 on the season, will play No. 3 Lincoln for the title on Saturday, Jan. 4, starting at 4 p.m. The Cardinals knocked off No. 2 Smithton 46-37.
Prairie Home with Bunceton, who dropped to 6-4 on the season, will play Smithton in the third place game Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.
Prairie Home coach Trever Huth said the boys came out starting the game playing with Slater and competing 100 percent with them.
“They hit a couple big shots early and we answered them back,” Huth said. “After that we were getting the shots we wanted but they just weren't falling for us. From there a good team in Slater kept running the floor and playing their game and we didn't play well at all to finish the game and the score shows that. We gave up, quit hustling for the ball and waited for the game to be over and that was the hardest thing to see to end the game.”
With its only loss of the season coming at the hands of the New Franklin Bulldogs in the championship in the Glasgow Tournament, the Wildcats looked to be well over that loss with four straight wins since.
Nonetheless, the Panthers put up a good fight for the first-six minutes of the first quarter while trailing Slater 11-7. However over the final two minutes of the period, the Wildcats outscored Prairie Home 10-3 to lead by a score of 21-10.
It got worse before it got better for the Panthers in the second quarter as Slater came out and reeled off 15 straight points during a four minute span to extend the lead to 24 at 36-12.
Slater also outscored Prairie Home 26-10 in the second period. However with a smothering defense and an opportunistic offense, the Wildcats held the Panthers to just three field goals while hitting four threes to lead by 27 (47-20) at the break.
The second half was pretty much a carbon copy of the first two periods as Slater scored 36 points in 16 minutes while holding Prairie Home to 17 points.
The Wildcats also opened the third quarter with 10 straight points. The Panthers, meanwhile, shot the ball better in the third quarter with six field goals, but they were still no match while trailing Slater 72-34 after three.
In the fourth quarter, the Wildcats reeled off seven straight to extend its lead over Prairie Home to 45 at 79-34. Slater also held a 11-3 advantage to win by 46.
Chandler Zdybel led three players in double figures for Slater with 21 points. Aden Campbell chipped in 16 while Jakobie Breshears added 11.
For Prairie Home, Jason Burnett was the only player in double figures with 16 points. Burnett also finished the game with two rebounds and one assist.
Kassen Lock had eight points, three rebounds and two rebounds while Blane Petsel added four points and two assists, Tripp Kendrick three points, Luke Stewart two points and three rebounds, Ty Stidham two points and one rebound and Dillon Alpers with two points.
The Panthers also finished the game, hitting 12 of 43 shots from the field for 28 percent and 8 of 13 from the foul line for 62 percent.
In the consolation semifinals on Monday, Otterville boys beat La Monte 53-23 while Northwest upended Hermitage 69-59.
La Monte and Hermitage will play in the seventh place on Friday, as well Otterville and Northwest in the consolation finals.
After Saturday’s games, the Prairie Home with Bunceton boys basketball team will play in the 91st annual New Franklin Tournament on Monday, Jan. 6 against Westran, starting at 7:30 p.m.
New Franklin is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, followed by Sturgeon, Westran, Fayette, Sweet Springs, Prairie Home with Bunceton, Pilot Grove and Community.
Panthers use big first quarter to beat Otterville 51-47 in tourney opener
With each team winning one game earlier in the season, the Prairie Home with Bunceton boys basketball team knew it had to get out to a fast start against the Otterville Eagles last Saturday in the opening round of the Otterville Holiday Classic.
In a No. 4 versus No. 5 matchup, the Panthers had just enough to get by the Eagles in another close battle 51-47.
Prairie Home coach Trever Huth said the boys came out strong to start off with this game.
“We played good defense and got to the rim a lot, which is what I like to see,” Huth said. “From there, we got kind a still on offense and didn't move without the basketball very well at all. We allowed too much dribble drive into the paint that allowed them some easy buckets and layups. We need to put together a whole game and work hard for four quarters. Still a good win against a really good team in Otterville and district win at that.”
Of course it didn’t hurt that Prairie Home with Bunceton boys jumped out to a 17-5 first quarter lead against Otterville or that the Panthers held a 12-11 advantage in the second quarter to go up 29-16. However, in the second half, the Eagles slowly began to chip away at Prairie Home’s lead by outscoring the Panthers 13-12 in the third quarter to make it 41-29. Meanwhile, in the final period, Otterville again outscored Prairie Home 18-10 to cut the lead to four.
Kassen Lock led all scorers in the game for Prairie Home with 16 points along with four rebounds, one steal and one assist.
Jason Burnett finished the game with 10 points, three rebounds and two steals while Clayton Pethan added nine points, 13 rebounds, two steals and one assist, Blane Petsel eight points, three assists, two rebounds and one steal, Alex Rhode five points and three rebounds and Hunter Shuffield with three points and two rebounds.
The Panthers finished the game, hitting 17 of 40 shots from the field for 43 percent and 12 of 19 from the foul line for 63 percent.
For Otterville, Ben Morrison had 12, Isaiah Gilmore with 11 and Cyrus Gilmore with 10. Mason Mathews chipped in eight.