The Latta Panthers couldn’t overcome 26 turnovers and gave up 12 offensive rebounds — most that led to putback baskets — in a 57-35 loss to Talihina Thursday afternoon in the first round of the 2020 Kingston New Years Classic.
The Panthers dropped to an even 6-6 on the season, while Class 2A No. 9 Talihina improved to 6-3.
“That’s 38 extra possessions for them, and it’s hard to win games against anybody with that many extra possessions, I don’t care who you’re playing. We just have to do a better job than that,” said Latta boys coach Paxton Kilby.
Latta stayed close early by trying to slow the tempo down. But the game started getting away from the Panthers in the second quarter, when Talihina started turning takeaways into easy points.
The Panthers managed just five points in the second period, all by Rylan Schlup. He connected on a 3-pointer early in the period that got Latta within 15-14 and his putback with just under five minutes left cut the Talihina lead to 19-16.
Talihina ended up scoring the final eight points of the period to make it 27-16 at halftime.
“When we got it to a half-court basketball game, it was hard for them to score. We did a good job defensively, we rotated well and we rebounded well,” Kilby explained. “But when we let them get out in transition and our defense was in disarray, it was to their advantage. They had the right game plan — to speed us up — and we played right into their hands by not valuing the basketball.”
A 3-point shot by Bryce Ireland at the 3:08 mark of the third period trimmed the LHS deficit to 33-27, but Talihina countered with a 17-3 run to put the game out of reach.
Latta got 11 points and seven rebounds from Lane Garrett, while Schlup finished with points. Ethan Elliott sank a pair of 3-pointers for his six points.
Talihina used a two-headed monster to bury Latta. Nick McLemore — a regular starter for the Golden Tigers who had to come off the bench after getting into head coach Taggart Lockhart’s dog house — exploded for a game-high 26 points. He also had seven rebounds and three steals.
Post player Austin Fenton added 19 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocked shots.
Kingston collected 16 steals, including four from Kobe Billy.
Latta played Silo in consolation play on Friday.