The Van Alstyne Panthers picked up a pair of non-district wins after the melt of the great ice storm of 2013, traveling to Whitewright to pick up a 58-47 win over the Tigers on Dec. 11.
Van Alstyne followed that up by blistering the Pottsboro Cardinals, 93-40 at home the following Friday. Side note: Just seven points more and fans would have received a free medium slush drink at the Van Alstyne Sonic.
Zach Davis and Isaiah Boling each had 17 points in the win over Whitewright. Van Alstyne trailed 42-40 going into the final period, then went on an 18-5 run to lock up win number 10 for the year. Colin McCaskill added 10 points in the Panther’s road win and Bailey Thorpe chipped in nine.
Van Alstyne 16 11 13 18 — 58
Whitewright 14 15 13 5 — 47
VA: Davis 17, Boling 17, McCaskill 10, Thorpe 9, Jared McMakin 3, Jake Hillebrenner 1, Harrison Awe 1.
Van Alstyne 93, Pottsboro 40
When you look at the line score of the Pottsboro game, given my history, you’re going to think it’s a mistake. But rest assured, dear reader, the numbers are correct: Van Alstyne singed the nets for 30 points in the fourth quarter in the runaway win over the Cardinals.
Thirteen Panther players got in the score book in this contest with senior Zach Davis leading the way with 23 points. Davis was 3-of-8 from beyond the arc and the team sank 13 treys to sink the Cardinals. Davis also had eight rebounds and four steals in the contest. He was ready to pass out those Sonic coupons had the Panthers hit the triple digit mark.
Colin McCaskill added 18 points, going 2-for-2 from downtown. Isaiah Boling with 11 and Bailey Thorpe with 10 joined the double-digit scoring parade.
Be sure to check out next week’s Leader as we release our picks in the boys’ basketball races in Districts 11-2A and 12-2A.
Pottsboro 6 15 16 3 — 40
Van Alstyne 16 23 24 30 — 93
VA:Davis 23, McCaskill 18, Boling 11, Thorpe 10, Blake Linnebur 8, Hillebrenner 5, McMakin 3, Noah Kirk 3, C.J.Lowing 3, Joey Jackson 3, Awe 3, Seth Caraway 2, Denny Graham 1.
Van Alstyne Panthers 62, Gunter 44.
What does a team that relies on the 3-point shot do when the long-distance bombs are not connecting? They play defense.
That’s what carried the Panthers to a 62-44 win in their district opener against Gunter at home on Dec. 17.
Van Alstyne (12-0,1-0) missed on its first five attempts from beyond the arc. However, when Jake Hillebrenner dropped in a corner trey it gave the Panthers a lead they never gave up. Hillebrenner finished with 17 points to lead the Van Alstyne offense as the Panthers opened their district schedule with the win.
Hillebrenner scored a pair of baskets to open the second quarter, then finished the period with a nice inside move to give Van Alstyne a 29-25 lead at intermission.
The defense locked down the Tigers in the third, outscoring the visitors 18-3 in the quarter.
Isaiah Boling, Zach Davis and Seth Caraway each hit from downtown and Boling’s late deuce gave the Panthers a 47-28 advantage after three.
Hillebrenner started the fourth period scoring with a three-ball and midway through the period, Caraway dropped in a trey from the top of the arc to push the Panther lead to 20.
The night’s scoring ended when Davis sank his second three of the game. Davis finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
For the next nine district games the boys’ team will play at the same site as the Lady Panthers, so it will be in Sunnyvale on Friday night, as well.