Juan Munoz scored 35 points and Panther Creek needed each one to take an 82-75 overtime victory over East Wake in Monday’s first round of the 4A boys basketball playoffs.
The outcome ended the No. 24-seeded East Wake boys’ season with a 14-10 record. The Warriors fulfilled their top preseason goal by reaching that mark.
“Our first goal was to have a winning season, and we haven’t had one since the 2005-06 season,” East Wake coach Darrin Stinson said.
Panther Creek (No. 9 seed, 20-5) advanced to a second round game against No. 25 Southeast Raleigh, a 52-46 winner over No. 8 Hoke County in round one.
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The teams were tied at 30 at halftime and again at 69 at the end of regulation after the teams traded 5-point advantages in the third and fourth quarters.
East Wake led 64-62 with about a minute left in the fourth quarter, but Panther Creek made use of key rebounds to claim a 69-67 edge.
Senior Nahjuwan Potts, who led the Warriors with 26 points, made a lay-up on an in-bound play with 2.6 seconds left to force the overtime period. Potts fouled out in the final minute of the extra frame, with East Wake trailing by 2 points.
“We played well on defense,” Stinson said. “We had nine offensive rebounds and put-backs. And Josh Siler got hot for us and that kept us close.”
Siler, a junior, was second in line for East Wake on offense with 22 points, including six 3-pointers. Junior Quincy Jackson added 17.
One of Stinson’s three peeves of the game was the 26-point third quarter by the Catamounts. He was more displeased with the Warriors’ free throw and turnover counts.
“I usually don’t like to blame a game on free throws, but we had 22 turnovers and we were 7 for 17 from the line,” he said. “We still could have made plays to win the ballgame, but we just didn’t get the rebounds we needed down the stretch.”
Stinson, who is admittedly not a fan of moral victories, said he was glad his team made it a game.
“I was pleased with our effort, just not with the outcome of it,” Stinson said. “We played hard, but not smart for some of it.”