MABANK–The Mabank Panthers wrapped up the year of 2020 with a close win over the Fairfield Eagles Dec. 30.
The Panthers began the game behind early and forged ahead and never relinquished their lead as they had the final edge over the Eagles, 47-45.
The Eagles rattled off the first six points of the game before Cade Wilson notched the first basket of the afternoon for the Panthers. Nathan Mulder added a late three-point shot and Wilson drew a foul on a layup as the Panthers took a 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Josh German hit two corner three-pointers for the Panthers to begin the second quarter to increase the Panthers’ lead to 16-10. Wilson added his first three-pointer of the night to give Mabank a 23-15 lead heading into halftime.
An early free throw from Landry Johnson was the lone point for the Panthers in the early minutes of the third quarter. A 7-1 run from the Eagles put them right back in contention as they closed the gap to 25-22, forcing a Mabank timeout with 5:34 remaining in the third quarter.
A 15-10 output from the Eagles left them trailing the Panthers 33-30 entering the final eight minutes of regulation.
Wilson added to his offensive total for the Panthers in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles finally pulled even, 43-43, as the Panthers took a timeout with just under two minutes remaining in the game.
After Johnson added a late basket for Mabank, with the Panthers leading 46-45, German drew a late foul and headed to the free throw line with under 10 seconds left. With the other four Mabank players behind the half-court line ready to defend in case of a miss, German eventually did miss the free throw but beat out four other Fairfield players for the offensive rebound and the Panthers took a timeout with eight seconds remaining.
The Eagles eventually came down and drew a foul with .7 seconds remaining, needing both free throws to send the game to overtime. The Eagles would miss both free throws as the Panthers picked up the 47-45 win.
Wilson led the way with 17 points for the Panthers with German and Johnson each adding eight points in the win over the Eagles.
The Panthers sit at 6-5 overall on the 2020-21 season as they near district play. Mabank will wrap up their pre-district schedule Thursday, Jan. 7 against Dallas Christian before opening their district schedule on the road against the Athens Hornets Friday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m.