Panthers split games

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RANGELY I The Panther boys’ basketball team lost its first game of 2012 on the road but won its first in the new year at home, losing to the Plateau Valley Cowboys in Collbran Friday last before beating the DeBeque Dragons Saturday in Rangely.
“We got beat up on by Plateau Valley,” head coach Eric Hejl said of the 39-58 loss to the Cowboys. “We had a quick start and a poor finish.”
Hejl said his team was up by as much as 10 points in the first quarter, which finished with the Panthers leading 13-7. The Cowboys outscored the Panthers by 10 in the second quarter to take a 26-22 halftime lead.
“We had another third quarter slump,” Hejl said as the Panthers scored seven in the third compared the the Cowboys’ 24. “We hurt ourselves with bad shots, standing around and not rebounding.”
Connor Phelan led the Panthers with 10 points, Ethan Peacock added seven, Cameron Enterline six and Mason Fortunato finished with five. Kody Denny, Cory Evans, Andrew Morton and Colt Allred also got on the scoreboard for the Panthers.
What a difference a day makes, as the Panthers returned home to host the Rams Saturday, overcoming their loss the night before to win 66-49 in front of their hometown fans.
“We played a better game, although it got kind of sloppy,” Hejl said. “DeBeque plays a little out of control.”
The Panthers again jumped out to a 17-8 first quarter lead and outscored the Dragons 14-13 in the second to lead 31-21 at halftime.
Rangely extended their lead by five in the third and scored the most points (18) in the final quarter to seal the victory.
“We played a better, more balanced game, consistent from beginning to end,” Hejl said of the win.
Enterline led the Panthers with 18 points, Phelan scored 12 and Denny finished in double figures with 10. Seven other Panthers also scored points, including Evans (9), Peacock (6), Allred and David Contreras each added three, Fortunato and Morton two each and Jake Massey made a free throw.
Hejl said the Panthers have two more home games this week and he is excited junior Chas Byerly has been cleared by doctors to return to the team after breaking his ankle during football season.
The Panthers will host Snake River tonight and the Soroco Rams Friday.