Garner Cleveland: Sports

Panther Creek boys basketball outlasts Southeast Raleigh

Juan Munoz scored 19 points, while Gaquez Hudson added 17 in lifting Panther Creek to a 59-53 win over Southeast Raleigh Wednesday night in a second-round NCHSAA 4A boys playoff game at Panther Creek High School.

Panther Creek trailed most of the way, but used a pivotal 7-0 run early in the fourth quarter to gain control and improve to 21-5 overall. Nubian Spann scored five of his 10 points in the span, including a key trey, to help the Catamounts pull away.

“I crashed the boards and got more aggressive,” Spann said of his late-game heroics. “My teammates and coaches motivated me to step up my play.”

His team's offense wasn't as prolific as it was in putting up 80 points in the opening-round, but Catamounts coach L.J. Hepp was pleased at the resilience it showed in pulling out the win.

“We did a nice job of executing down the stretch,” Hepp said.“We know how to finish games.”

The finish was certainly better than the start for Panther Creek, which trailed 17-11 at the end of the opening quarter and still being down by a basket (26-24) at the break.

Demetrius Sanders had something to do with that, netting eight of his 19 points in the first eight minutes to go with three rebounds. The Bulldogs hung with the Catamounts through the third quarter, forging a 41-41 tie behind a pair of successful drives to the basket by Myles Harris.

Harris added 12 in all for the Bulldogs, who finished the season 13-10.

Despite the loss, Southeast Raleigh coach John Baker was proud of his team's effort.

“This team was a class act from the beginning of the season to the end,” said Baker, noting he had 10 seniors who saw their last prep hoops action. “As a coach that's what I look for.”

Baker said he understood why Panther Creek was victorious, however.

“They had a great run in the fourth quarter,” Baker added. “They did the right things at the right times.”