After out-scoring what looked to be a very athletic Plano East team by 32 points, Van Alstyne was challenged by a scrappy, undersized team from Richardson Pearce in Metrocrest League action Monday night in Plano.
The Panthers ran a clinic against the PESH team in the opening contest of their twin bill at Plano East High School, jumping out to a 45-22 lead after 10 minutes then bumping that advantage to 75-41 at the finish.
With only seven players available, Van Alstyne got off to a 16-7 run as Isaiah Boling was directing the fast-paced attack. A Boling pass to Jared McMakin got the scoring started. After taking a defensive rebound 94 feet before dropping in a layup, Boling put back an offensive rebound.
Plano sent in five fresh players but they could not stop the flow of the Panthers.
C.J. Lowing put back a miss on the offensive end, then a Boling to Bailey Thorpe pass finished off a fast break attack. A Thorpe 3-pointer closed out the first 10 minutes of the contest with the Panthers on top, 19-7.
In these summer league games the teams play two 20-minute periods with a running clock until the final two minutes.
Van Alstyne got 3-point shots by Boling and Colin McCaskill and the offense was relentless over the final five minutes of the first half.
A 3-point shot by Noah Kirk and a Harrison Awe pass to Kirk closed out the first period with Van Alstyne up by 23.
Things didn’t get any better for the Plano East team in the second 20 minutes as the Panthers could not miss. The Plano East team was playing a matador defense, waving a cape at the Panthers as they drove the paint and it was no contest as Van Alstyne breezed to the win.
Watching the Pearce Mustangs warmup before the second contest, we were thinking, ‘If Van Alstyne plays as well in this one, Pearce is in for a beat down.’
Glad I didn’t pass my studied opinion along to the Pearce parents who were seated nearby as the Smalls gave Van Alstyne a fight in this one.
A pair of 3-pointers by Thorpe got the Panthers off to a good start, but the Mustangs began to drop in some shots and with about six minutes left in the first half took a 21-19 lead.
The 3-ball accuracy went away for Van Alstyne, and the Mustangs were double teaming the ball with some very active help defense.
At the break Richardson was on top, 31-28.
Back-to-back three’s, one by Boling and a second by Thorpe, put the Panthers back in the lead.
Kirk fed McMakin on an in-bounding play and McMakin was fouled as his shot rolled in and the old-school three-point play pushed the Panther lead to six.
A 3-pointer by Thorpe gave Van Alstyne a 48-39 advantage as the final 10 minutes began.
Play got a little chippy at the end, with one Richardson player being ejected for his strenuous objections to a foul call.
Van Alstyne held on for a 64-55 win.
The Panthers return to action on June 11 when they take on Prosper in a 9 p.m. game.
The league ends play on June 16 at Frisco Centennial with Van Alstyne playing Bishop Lynch in an 8 p.m. game, then taking on Allen an hour later.