Boys Varsity Basketball · Panthers run past Comets Pioneer picks up 1st HNAC win in a rout

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Panthers run past Comets
Pioneer picks up 1st HNAC win in a rout

By Rick Conrad For the Pharos-Tribune 8 hrs ago

Panthers run past Comets
Pioneer senior guard Damon McGuire takes the ball to the basket against Caston on Friday night. Tony Walters | Pharos-Tribune

Panthers run past Comets
Pioneer senior Damon McGuire goes up 2 Friday night in Royal Center. Tony Walters | Pharos-Tribune

Panthers run past Comets
Pioneer senior Haden Krintz dribbles the ball down court as Caston’s Luke Lowe defends. Tony Walters | Pharos-Tribune

Panthers run past Comets
Pioneer senior Calahan Kindley takes the ball to the basket as Caston’s Levi Lowe defends. Tony Walters | Pharos-Tribune

ROYAL CENTER — After a long lay-off due to inclement weather, Pioneer and Caston locked horns last night in Royal Center.

With the Panthers dictating the tempo of the game, Caston fell behind early and looked like a team that hasn’t played in three weeks as the Comets dropped one on the road by a 60-31 score.

Neither team could get any offense going after the opening tip until the Panthers (7-6, 1-2 HNAC) scored on a 3-ball by Gage Cripe with 5:22 left in the first quarter. But Caston (3-8, 1-2) quickly responded to make it a 3-2 game before Pioneer turned it into a track meet. Caston needed a quick timeout to slow things down but Pioneer kept running and led 14-6 after the first quarter.

The break did nothing to slow the Panthers and a 9-0 to start the quarter started to make this one look ugly. Caston again tried to slow things with a timeout but another run by Pioneer to end the quarter sent the Panthers into the break with a 31-11 score.

When play resumed in the second half Caston had great difficulty in handling the Panthers’ pressure and it was all Pioneer after that. Pioneer built the lead to 30 points late in the quarter before Dustin Sparks scored on a turnaround just before the buzzer making it a 49-17 game.

Panthers coach Austin Cowley then went to his bench for the fourth quarter allowing his subs to finish up as Pioneer coasted to the 60-31 win.

Jacob Brown led the balanced Panthers with 10 points on the night. He was followed by Cripe and Calahan Kindley with nine each and Logan Nusbaum with eight. Damon McGuire and Haden Krintz each added six.

Caston big man Hunter Schanlaub led the Comets with a game-high 13 points. He was followed by Mike Rans and his seven points. Luke Lowe chipped in four.

“Coach Cowley did an amazing job in getting his kids ready to play at that fast a pace,” Comets coach Carl Davis said. “It was a pace that we just couldn’t keep up with. Going on we have to better prepare ourselves to play at that level without turning the ball over so much.”

Cowley said of his squad’s effort: “Coming into the game tonight we thought our press was going to really give them problems and as it turned out it did. We also were fortunate a couple times during the game when we were able to pull away from them by going on a couple runs. But [tonight] will be a test for us. We’re just hoping to continue to improve in getting ready for tournament.”

Pioneer travels to 13-2 Rossville tonight. Caston hosts Northfield tonight.