12-19-2019 Tri-City Area Sports

Watervliet Press Box by John Oliphant

Panther boys beat Hartford

The Watervliet Panther gym was full of basketball last Saturday, Dec. 14 as four of the teams took on rival Hartford. In the final game of the night the varsity boys took the early lead against the Indians and only briefly trailed, eventually winning their first game of the season, 53-45. These crosstown games sometimes get testy and this one was no exception. Both sides brought their student cheering sections and the place got noisy as the green and maroon fans enjoyed the games.

PANTHERS FALL SHORT…in season opener at home against the Berrien Springs Shamrocks. #24 Danaveon Gilbert contributes 17 points in the effort. Andrew Chisek led the scoring for Watervliet with 22 points. (TCR photo by Amy Loshbough)

Early on the game was fast-paced, with Aaron Sinclair scoring 11 of Hartford’s 13 first-quarter points. The Panthers were playing well as a team with five different players scoring 17 points, Andrew Chisek leading the way with nine. The Indians won the second quarter 12-7 to take a lead into halftime.

In the third quarter the tables turned as five Panthers combined to score 17 to Hartford’s 12. The final quarter saw only two baskets scored by the teams combined, but lots of free throws. Hartford hit five of 11 attempts, but the Panthers were solid, going 10 for 12 at the line to put the game away.

The Panthers played inspired team basketball. Excellent half-court defense, strong rebounding, and fourth-quarter free throw shooting made all the difference. Coach Dan Hoff said he was “pleased with the way the guys came together tonight. It’s a process, we’ll keep working.” Indeed, the Panthers are playing well together in all facets of the game and look much improved this year under their new coach.

Andrew Chisek led the Panthers with 18 points. Danaveon Gilbert scored 11, Davis King scored eight, and Jordan Abney scored seven. Dylan Lawson scored four, Brennan Bornas scored three, and Cole Pline scored two points.

On Friday, Dec. 13 the Panthers hosted Fennville and lost 66-40 in a game that got away from them in the second half. The Panther varsity boys were down 21-20 at halftime with the momentum and some Blackhawks in early foul trouble, but they couldn’t keep up with Fennville’s potent outside shooting. Davis King led the Panthers with 11 points, and Andrew Chisek scored nine. Danaveon Gilbert scored seven, Brennan Bornas scored six, Dylan Lawson scored five, and Jordan Abney scored two points.

Earlier last week they opened the season with Berrien Springs. The Panthers played solid defense throughout the game and fought well on the boards, but were unable to get all their gears meshing and lost 52-42. Four Panthers got into the scoring column, with Andrew Chisek leading the way with 22 and Danaveon Gilbert scoring 17.