The defending district champions Cumberland Gap Panthers are trying to stay focused on repeating as champions and at times they have shown the resolve needed and other times they have lacked a portion of their game.
They played West Greene December 6 and took a victory by the final score of 66-53. Kaleb Franklin led the way with 17 points while Preston England had 14. The team got off to an early start due to Bubba Lake and Dallas Griffith scoring nine and eight respectively to start the game. They led at the half 41-22 and saw great free throw shooting from Franklin as he was perfect at the line in the second half, 6-6. Trent Graves also scored eight. Evan Jackson had five and Nich Neverstitch along with Jordan Bullins and Mykel Griffin combined for five more during the victory. Julian Lane for West Greene had 19 points to lead all scorers.
The Panthers then went up against the meat of the schedule with games against Grainger and Greeneville. During the Greeneville game, three Panthers recorded double figures in scoring. Trent Graves had 15, Kaleb Franklin had 11 and Jacob Bullins also recorded 11 points. Dallas Griffith finished with eight. Bubba Lake and Preston England both scored seven completing the Panthers’ total. The final was 64-54 despite the Panthers attempting five more free throws 14-9.
Grainger also put the Panthers in the loss category with their 57-44 victory. Jacob Bullins started quickly with eight points during the opening period and he would finish with eight points along with Kaleb Franklin. Preston England finished with 12 along with Trent Graves. Jayson Upton along with Bubba Lake scored two points.
The Panthers battled the Oneida Indians December 15 and came away with a convincing 74-66 victory. They scored 26 first-half points with seven Panthers recording scores by the game’s end. Leading the Panthers was Trent Graves who exploded with 23 points. Jacob Bullins had 14, Preston England 13 and Jayson Upton scored 10. Bubba Lake and Kaleb Franklin finished with six. Nich Neverstitch dropped in the other basket.
The Panthers as of December 27, had a record of 7-3.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude.