Cumberland Gap followed the Lady Panthers with a boys’ contest at Grainger County January 31. Their record was 9-7 coming into this game with a heated rival and they wanted nothing more than to spring an upset for win number 10. It was a battle throughout but in the end the Grizzlies won by 22 points.
After a minute and a half of play the Grizzlies held a 7-0 lead forcing Coach Ernie Mac Clawson to call a timeout to settle his team down. It was 14-0 before the Panthers found their first basket. Shortly after, a Grainger dunk gave them an 18-3 lead and convinced Clawson he needed yet another time out. Turnovers were hurting the Panthers and Clawson was trying to find the right five players to put on the floor. The Panthers eventually calmed down and got back in the game with a run that left the score 22-13 after one period of play.
Two minutes into the second period it was only a 14-point game but it felt larger as the home team had all the momentum. The Panthers were out of sync on offense but playing good defense by taking charges and keeping the Grainger “bigs” from totally ruling the paint; however, Grainger scored in the paint and then shot the mid range jumpers allowing them to increase their lead out to 40-20.
After coming out of the halftime break the Grizzlies continued on their path to a victory by hitting their first shot of the third, a three pointer. The Panther deficit remained at 20 points throughout the larger portion of the third period. The period ended 57-35 and Grainger looked to now be polishing off the visiting Panthers.
As with all Gap teams they never give up and continued to battle during the final period but the Grizzlies were just too strong on this night and won the game by the final score of 69-47.
Leading the Panthers in scoring were Bubba Lake and Trent Graves, both having 13 points. Lake came off the bench and had some good minutes in the first half that kept the Panthers within striking distance. Nich Neverstitch had five along with Preston England. Jacob Bullins and Kaleb Franklin finished with four. Dallas Griffith and Evan Jackson rounded out the scoring total with two points each.
Leading Grainger in scoring was Marquice Fifield with 13 points.
Reach Allen Earl at 423-254-5588 or on Twitter @pitchadude