It took the North Lamar Panthers a half to get things together, but when they did, it was over for Athens. North Lamar led 39-34 at the break. The third quarter, though, was a different story. The Panthers defense held Athens to only four points in the quarter while the offense scored 19 on their way to a 78-60 victory.
One of the main reasons for the differing halves was the play on the defensive side of the ball. Miles Koehler and Katarius Arroyo scored 26 of the 34 first half points for Athens. They knocked down five from behind the arc as well. In the second half, these two combined for five points.
The third quarter started with Versache Buchanan knocking down a three pointer. However it was a quarter in which the whole team got involved. Seven players scored for the Panthers in the third and nobody scored more than six points.
Versache led the way with 26 points, however it was the play of the big guys down low that really helped change the tide for North Lamar. The first half was dominated on the glass by Athens. The second half, though, Grant Erickson and Jake Stewart really helped clean that up.
"We had a little conversation at halftime. A few kind words of encouragement. We weren't guarding anybody in the first half. We couldn't guard our shadow. We weren't boxing out." - Head Coach Homer Garner
Grant finished with eight rebounds while Jake had 11. It was a total team win for North Lamar. Eight of the 11 players scored in the game.
The win gives North Lamar the Area Championship and sets up a rematch with District opponent Pleasant Grove. The two teams tied during the district with a 6-4 record and split both of their games with each other. Both teams won on their home court. This time, the game will be played in a neutral location. The game will be played Tuesday at 7:00 in Mt. Pleasant at the High School. The winner will move on to the Regional Tournament at Texas A&M Commerce.
North Lamar 25 14 19 20 78
Athens 21 13 8 22 60
Versache Buchanan - 26 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks
Grant Erickson - 15 points, 8 rebounds
Levi Porter - 15 points, 6 rebounds, 1 block
Jake Stewart - 10 points, 11 rebounds
Menderiz Gray - 4 points, 6 rebounds
Javon Franklin - 4 points, 2 rebounds
Dakota Grissom - 2 points, 1 rebound
Tyler Hill - 2 points