Mabank tops Crandall, advances to Area round
ENNIS–The Mabank Panthers took home the Bi-district championship with a big win over the Crandall Pirates Feb. 25 at Ennis High School.
The Panthers began the contest with a three-pointer from Connor Smith and a free throw from Cade Bell to put Mabank ahead 4-0 early.
Smith added a steal and an and-1 to make it a 10-6 lead for the Panthers.
After a steal and a basket from Landry Johnson, the Pirates put together a strong end to the first quarter as they trailed just 18-15 after eight minutes of play.
The Pirates hit an early three-pointer to tie the game 18-18. Smith hit the next two baskets for the Panthers to put Mabank back in front 22-18.
After another successful shot by the Panthers put them up 24-18, the Pirates took an early timeout in the second quarter to try and slow Mabank’s momentum.
Bell came out of the break with a successful and-1, adding the free throw for the Panthers. Bell added two more late free throws as the Panthers led the Pirates 34-24 at halftime.
Smith began the second half with a short jump shot for the Panthers to make it a 36-24 game.
After a basket from Devyn Gibbs increased the Panthers’ lead to 38-24, the Pirates began their strong push back.
The Pirates went on a 7-0 run to force a Mabank timeout as their lead was trimmed to 38-31 with 5:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Smith added a late layup for Mabank with Johnson notching two more points for the Panthers off a breakout pass from Gibbs, giving Mabank a 48-33 lead after three quarters.
Caleb Goforth added two points for the Panthers to begin the fourth quarter to push Mabank to the 50-point mark.
Gibbs picked up three points on a successful and-1, making the lead for Mabank 54-35.
Bell began to put the game away late for Mabank as he hit multiple free throws down the stretch to increase the Panthers’ lead to 59-44.
Smith hit two final free throws to clinch the Bi-district title for the Panthers as they defeated the Pirates 63-49.
Bell and Smith led the way offensively for the Panthers as they finished with 26 and 21 points respectively.
Gibbs added five points with Johnson and Josh German notching four points each and Goforth putting up three points for Mabank in the win over Crandall.
Mabank advances to the Area round to face the Chapel Hill Bulldogs Feb. 28 at Lindale High School at 7 p.m.