Saint Jo and Gold-Burg went head to head on Friday with the Panthers clinching the 63-45 district win at home.
Saint Jo’s Preston Lyons netted a whopping 28 points to lead the Panther offense as one of three players to reach double digits. He was joined by Eli Jones with 13 and Logan Morman with 10. Brock Durham helped round out the scoring with six points, while Blake Anderson and Connor Thompson provided three points each.
“It was a pretty solid performance for the guys, returning to our home court for the first time in about a month,” said Saint Jo Coach Michael Wheeler. “Preston Lyons returned to his former self, scoring all 18 of the first quarter points.”
Saint Jo was helped when a leading Bear fouled out as the Panthers defense came out strong.
“Our defense continued to step up and cause issues for the opposing team,” said Wheeler. “It’s a good start for us in district, and this will be our first week with back to back district games, both of which will be very difficult.”
For the Bears, it wasn’t the opening district game they had hoped for as they struggled to get shots to fall.
“We played well, but we had trouble shooting the ball. We have had a hard time shooting from the field,” explained Gold-Burg Coach Gordon Williams. “I thought it was good effort, and they played hard and had really good defense.”
However, Williams knows at this point it is vital for his team to find a way to shoot the ball well.
“We are getting good shots and getting good looks, but we have to start shooting the ball better and really improve in a hurry,” said Williams. “We had a couple of games where we really scored, but for the most part we haven’t really shot well all year long. There a couple of players in particular who are really struggling, they just have to find a way to score again.”
The Bear’s coach is hoping to see improvement quickly as they continue down a difficult district road.
“Prairie Valley is going to be a dogfight, it is going to be really close. I expect most of our district games to come right down to the end. It is just going to be a dog fight, I am expecting a really close game and we just have to play well and play late in the game to win,” predicted Williams.
The Panthers will return home Friday night against a tough Slidell team, while Gold-Burg will face Prairie Valley at home.
The Saint Jo Lady Panthers and Gold-Burg Lady Bears headed back onto the court Friday for the first time since the holidays in a district matchup.
Despite a slow start, it was the Lady Panthers who doubled the visiting team’s score to grab the 50-25 win.
“It was kind of a slow start,” explained Saint Jo Coach Taylor Klement. “This was our first game after the break, but once we found our rhythm, we kind of settled in and were able to run our offense and put some pressure on them defensively.”
Emily Haney powered the offense with 17 points, while Charity Brawner netted an additional seven in the Lady Panther’s home win. Meanwhile, Hallie Hinds and Kaitline Harris provided six points each, Hannah Reyling contributed five and Bethany Thomas, three.
The Gold-Burg Lady Bears fought until the very end, giving the game all they had. Taylor Lyons dropped in 12 points to lead the Lady Bear’s offense. Kelly Contreras returned from a concussion suffered in a game a few weeks prior to provide nine of Gold-Burg’s points, while Ashlyn Smith netted three and DeAnna Molinaro, one.
“The girls played hard,” said Gold-Burg Coach Cheryl Cromleigh. “They fought until the buzzer sounded. I could not have asked for more of a fight.”
The Lady Bear’s coach said she felt her team hustled and gave the game all they had.
“We had to play short-handed due to the holidays and the shots would just not fall in the Dome. I am extremely proud and impressed with my girls’ tenacity,” said Cromleigh.
The Saint Jo Lady Panthers face a difficult district slate this week as they take on Slidell at home on Friday and the Bellevue Lady Eagles next Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Gold-Burg Lady Bears will play Prairie Valley at home Friday, followed by a home game against Slidell on Tuesday.