Pirate faithful had no idea what to expect when the boys Varsity hit the floor on Friday night for the season opener against Paulding. The host Pirates had one returning letterman Sophomore Mitchell Coleman. Coleman was joined on the court starting the season with Senior Taron Butler, Sophomores Reed Warnement and Bryce Recker, and Freshman Gavin Huff. What they saw was a team that played with a lot of hustle and had a chance at the end to tie the game.
The Panthers opened up the nights scoring by hitting a 3 pointer. Coleman put in the first 2 pointer for the Pirates. A second 3 by the Panthers was meant with a Pirate 5 point run with a 3 by Coleman and a basket by Huff. Pirates 7, Panthers 6. The Panthers opened up a 7 point lead on the Pirates by hitting 3 more 3’s and a 2 to make it 14-7. A Bulter 2 was followed by a Panther made free throw to make it Panthers 15, Pirates 9. Strong defensive effort held the Panthers scoreless the rest of the quarter was teamed with a 2 from Huff and a 3 from Butler to make it Panthers 15, Pirates 14 after 1. The shot from Bulter was just inside the half court line and split the nets as the buzzer sounded.
The Pirates Huff opened up the second quarter scoring to secure the Pirates a 16-15 lead. A Panther basket was was met with a pair of Coleman 3’s to make it Pirates 22, Panthers 17. A Panther 3 was followed by a Huff 2 to make it Pirates 24, Panthers 20. The Panthers would score the final 5 points of the half for a Panther 25 Pirates 24 score.
The 3rd quarter started out all Pirates as Huff hit a pair of baskets and Bulter hit a 3 for the Pirates to open up a 6 point lead 31-25. Four free throws by the Panthers made it a 2 point game. A basket by Gannon Prowant and a pair of free throws from Bulter got the Pirate lead back to withing 6, 35-29. A 3 point play by the Panthers was followed by a basket by Warnement 37-32 Pirates. The Panthers would put in the final 2 points of the quarter to make it Pirates 37, Panthers 34 after 3.
The Panthers put in the first basket of the fourth to make it a 1 point game. A 3 by Warnement made it Pirates 40, Panthers 36. A five point run by the Panthers gave them a 1 point lead. A 3 by Huff got the Pirates back in the lead for the last time in night at 43-41. The Panthers would score the next 7 points to make it 48-43 Panthers. A 3 by Coleman made it a 2 point game 48-46. As the game got down to the last minute Panthers made 1 free throw to make it a 3 point lead 49-46. The Pirates got the ball with 10 seconds to go but could not get up a final shot.
The Pirates were led in scoring by Gavin Huff with 15 and Mitchell Coleman with 14. Taron Bulter had a double double as he put in 10 and had 10 rebounds. Reed Warnement had 5 while Gannon Prowan put in 2. The Pirates had 8 made 3 pointers to the Panthers 6. Coleman made 4 three pointers while Bulter had 2. Huff and Warnement both made 1.
The Pirates (0-1) are back in action on Saturday when Temple Christian comes to town with a 5:00 start time. Paulding is now 1-0.
–Mike Jones, Sportswriter