Van Alstyne Adds Notches to Victory Belt

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Leader Photo by Griff Servati, vaalltheway.com  Isaiah Boling
Leader Photo by Griff Servati, vaalltheway.com  Zach Davis

The Van Alstyne Panthers, inspired by a large and rowdy home crowd, bashed the Leonard Tigers 81-65 on Jan. 7.

(Side note: A welcome addition to the basketball action was the presence of the Van Alstyne pep band.)

It was a typical tsunami of 3-pointers by the Panthers over the first three and a half quarters that victimized the Tigers. When Laine Albert dropped in a 3-pointer for Leonard early in the first quarter it gave the Tigers an 11-10 lead and some hope.

It didn’t float, however, as Bailey Thorpe and Seth Caraway came off the bench to light up the scoreboard. A Thorpe 3-pointer from well beyond the 19-foot line and Caraway’s three put Van Alstyne (18-2)(3-1) on top, 18-11. Caraway grabbed on offensive rebound, spun to his right just outside the paint and dropped in a fade-away, channeling his best Dirk Nowitzki.

Another Thorpe 3-pointer got the second quarter scoring started and, midway through the period, Zach Davis took over. The senior guard canned his first 3-ball of the night, added 4-of-4 from the free-throw line, then scored seven more points to close out the half with the Panthers up, 40-24.

The Panthers blistered the nets in the third quarter, outscoring Leonard 28-15 as Colin McCaskill and Joey Jackson scored from beyond the arc. A 3-pointer by Isaiah Boling and Davis’ third 3-pointer of the night helped push the Van Alstyne lead to 30 midway through the fourth period.

Leonard went on a scoring run in the final minutes of the game, cutting that big lead in half as Albert dropped a pair of 3-pointers. He finished with 33 points for the night.

Following the bye week, Van Alstyne will travel to Pilot Point on January 14 to continue District 12-2A play.

Leonard 11 13 15 26 — 65

Van Alstyne 20 20 28 13 — 81

VA: Zach Davis 26,Bailey Thorpe 15, Isaiah Boling 11, Seth Caraway 9,Jared McMakin 4, Harrison Awe 4, Joey Jackson 4,Colin McCaskill 3, Blake Linnebur 2, Will Jones 1.

Van Alstyne 55, Farmersville 49

With non-district play completed, the Panthers gave full attention to the District 12-2A race, getting back to business with a 55-49 home-court win over Farmersville on Jan. 3.

In every game lately it seems that someone new steps up to lead the offense, and this time junior Bailey Thorpe accepted that role.

Thorpe led the Panthers with 16 points, sending in three shots from beyond the arc as Van Alstyne held off a fourth-quarter charge by the visitors. Colin McCaskill added 10 points and senior Zach Davis had nine.Seth Caraway chipped in six points and six rebounds, connecting on a pair of 3-point shots.

With Van Alstyne leading by 14 going into the final period, Farmersville’s Jaelon Clark led a comeback effort that saw the Farmers outscore Van Alstyne 19-11 in the fourth. Clark finished with 25 points to lead all scorers, but not enough as Farmersville drops to 1-3 in league play.

Farmersville 8 10 12 19 — 49

Van Alstyne 12 15 17 11— 55

VA: Bailey Thorpe 16, Colin McCaskill 10, Zach Davis 9, Isaiah Boling 6, Seth Caraway 6, Jared McMakin 3, Harrison Awe 3, Jake Hillebrenner 2.