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Panthers edge Tigers in district victory

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Mabank downs Wills Point despite late surge


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MABANK–The Mabank Panthers held off a late offensive push from the Wills Point Tigers for their first district win of the season Jan. 21 at home.
The Tigers came out of the gate strong as they took an early 6-2 lead over the Panthers.
Connor Smith knocked down a three-pointer for the Panthers to cut the deficit to 9-7.
Smith hit another jump shot late for Mabank as the Panthers trailed 13-12 after the first quarter.
Another shot from Smith to start the second quarter put the Panthers in front for the first time in the game, 14-13.
The Panthers held the Tigers to just four points the rest of the quarter as they took a 22-17 lead into halftime.
Landry Johnson opened the third quarter with two free throws for the Panthers to increase their lead to 24-17.
Davontae Lowe added a basket after a goaltending call against Wills Point to make it a 26-17 Mabank lead, forcing a Tigers’ timeout with 3:39 left in the third quarter.
Caleb Goforth added two late free throws for Mabank as they took a 30-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, Wills Point had cut their deficit in half, forcing a Panthers’ timeout with 6:24 remaining in the game.
Out of the timeout, the Tigers rattled off five more unanswered points to tie the game 30-30.
Lowe added another basket off a great pass from Goforth to put Mabank back in front 32-30.
Wills Point called a late timeout while still trailing after hitting a free throw to make it a 32-32 game.
Cade Bell added two late free throws to seal the win for the Panthers, 34-32.
Smith led the way offensively for the Panthers with 15 points in the win over the Tigers.
Bell added nine points with Lowe and Johnson each contributing four points apiece against Wills Point.
The win moves the Panthers to 6-12 overall and 1-1 to begin district play.
Mabank hits the court Tuesday, Jan. 28 on the road as they take on the Athens Hornets at 7:30 p.m.