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March 13, 2014

Latta boys take down Black Bears in 2A opener

Oklahoma City — The No. 2-ranked Latta Panthers took on the sixth-ranked Pawnee Black Bears in the opening round of the 2A State Tournament on Thursday afternoon at Abe Lemons Arena on the campus of Oklahoma City University Thursday and fans got their money’s worth. The Panthers held on late for a 54-49 victory.

Latta built a 44-34 lead to start the fourth off a three-point shot by Treston Tully, but Pawnee would not go away. At the 6:20 mark Gideon Gardner hit a basket to cut the lead to 44-36. Gardner scored again with 5:20 to play to bring Pawnee within six at 44-38.

After a Latta turnover, Gardner went coast to coast to cut the lead to 44-40 with 5:10 to go. Kade Hayes then nailed a three-pointer from the right wing to push Latta’s lead back to 47-40. After a Black Bear turnover, Derek Epperly then found Hayes under the basket for a bump off the glass and the foul.

Hayes converted the shot and the free throw to push Latta’s lead back to 10 at 50-40 with 4:19 left. Pawnee came back once again. Paydon Moore hit a three to get Pawnee back to within seven at 50-43. Nathan Brock then scored with 2:35 to play and the lead was only 50-45. Hayes was fouled and hit one of two at the 2:38 mark for a 51-45 Latta advantage. Gardner took the ball inside and cut the lead to 51-47 with 1:50 to go.

After a Latta turnover, Alex Roughface grabbed an offensive rebound and putback the shot and the lead was down to 51-49 with 34.4 seconds left. Brogan Cantrell was fouled with 22 ticks on the clock and calmly sank both free throws for a 53-49 lead.

After a Pawnee miss, Hayes was fouled and hit one of two for the final score of 54-49. The Panthers will play Thomas Friday at 6 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds Arena. With the win, Latta improves to 25-4.

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