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Panthers can’t tame Wildcats at home

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Mabank falls to Palestine despite strong fourth quarter

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MABANK–The Mabank Panthers fell despite a late surge in the fourth quarter to the Palestine Wildcats Dec. 20 at Mabank High School.
Gavin Scrimshire got the Panthers on the board first before the Wildcats tied the game early at 2-2.
Connor Smith picked up the and-1, knocking down the free throw as well to put Mabank back in front 5-2 on the three-point play.
After Palestine moved in front 7-5, the Panthers got two late three-pointers from Landry Johnson as Mabank took an 11-7 lead into the second quarter.
Mabank got a layup early in the second quarter, followed by a three-point shot from Caden Smith to give the Panthers a 16-10 lead.
The Wildcats stormed back, finishing the first half on an 8-2 run as the two teams sat tied 18-18 at halftime.
The Wildcats began the third quarter with a 5-0 run to take a 23-18 lead.
The Panthers struggled to find their offensive touch in the third quarter as their first basket came courtesy of Johnson with just 38 seconds remaining as Mabank managed just three points in the quarter as they trailed 30-21 entering the fourth quarter.
Cade Bell was fouled early in the fourth quarter attempting a three-point shot. Bell proceeded to knock down all three free throws. Bell hit two more free throws to make it a 32-26 game.
A three-pointer from Johnson and a quick layup from Bell made it a 32-31 game, forcing a Wildcats’ timeout with 4:26 remaining in regulation.
The Wildcats came out of the timeout with a new mindset, making it a 40-31 game after an 8-0 run.
Mabank got late jump shots from Johnson and Bell but couldn’t make up the deficit as the Panthers fell in their final home game of 2019, 40-35.
Johnson led the way for the Panthers with 14 points against the Wildcats.
Bell added 11 points with Smith notching five points for the Panthers Friday afternoon.
The Panthers fall to 4-6 overall on the season with the loss to the Wildcats.
Mabank returns to action Friday, Jan. 3 on the road against the Martins Mill Mustangs with tipoff scheduled for 2:15 p.m.