PITTSBURG – There is a danger in the post season for a #1 seed to run into a team that has nothing to lose.
While the Henderson Lions dispatched the North Lamar (Paris) Panther by 15 points, 60-45, it was a four-point game in the early stages of the fourth quarter.
The Lions rarely trailed in the game, but the Panthers just wouldn’t go away.
“North Lamar did a great job getting back on defense, and we capitalized on a few opportunities near the end that were open,” said Lion’s Head Coach Joshua Francis. “We play well in transition and put a lot of pressure on defenses. It was good to see our perseverance pay off in the final moments of the game.”
Uncharacteristically, the Lions were saddled early with fouls in a tightly called game. To Henderson’s credit, the calls were mostly both ways and the Lions performed well at the charity stripe hitting on 14 of 20 attempts.
“It is very important to make free throws in the big games,” Francis said. “We continue to stress the importance each day, and we had some guys make important free throws when it mattered.”
The bench performed well as just about all of the players found court time and eight players scored with three in double figures.
“I think our depth is one of our strengths moving forward,” he said. “We have a lot of guys that can come off the bench and give us good minutes. I’m excited to see what the next round brings us.”
Henderson held a 29-22 advantage at the half, and a cool-shooting third quarter made for a tight game down the stretch.
Henderson led 38-31 going into the final stanza, but a trey by Williams made it a two-possession game right out of the gate.
A traditional three-point play by Devon Phillips with a bucket and free throw, coupled with a trey by Markell Washington gave Henderson a 10-point cushion.
In just the fourth quarter alone, Henderson warmed up the shooting going 7-for-13, while North Lamar cooled off to a cold 4-for16, which included a 2-for-7 performance from behind the arch.
Henderson kept the near-double digit lead throughout the rest of the final stanza scoring 22 points as opposed to the Panthers’ 14.
Caleb Medford led the Lions with 17 points, followed by Washington with 13 and Jy Fuller with 10 points.
Williams led the Panthers with 14 point, including four treys on the night. He was followed by Scott with 11 points and Hay with 11 points.
Henderson will play the winner of the Caddo Mills-Brownsboro game, which was played Tuesday night.
A second-round game will be played between Thursday and Saturday this week.
NLHS 13090914 – 45
HHS 19100922 – 60
North Lamar (45) Jeffrey 1, Williams 14, Nottingham 6, Odie 2, Scott 11, Hay 11.
Henderson (60) Medford 17, Fields 2, Fuller 10, Washington 13, Collins 7, Phillips 3, Wallace 2, Dixon 4.