by John Earp

In a very well-matched and very exciting game last Friday, the Panthers Varsity Boys’ Basketball Team (5-4) lost 59-55 in overtime to the Tatum Coyotes (8-2) in a game that had been all tied up 55-55 at the end of regular play. Jal led 25-21 at halftime, but the Coyotes rallied in the third period, and were able to turn the game their way slightly after halftime to reduce the Panthers’ lead to just two points (36-34) by the end of the third period. The Coyotes’ momentum slightly but steadily increased in the fourth period, with Hayden Green of Tatum (formerly of Jal) tying the game up early in the fourth period by sinking two free throws after being fouled. With 7:30 minutes remaining in the game, the score was tied 36-36. Two fouls against #23 of Tatum, Sebastian Jimenez, resulted in three successful free-throw shots by Jimenez, with Tatum pulling ahead 39-36 with about 7:00 minutes remaining in the game. This was followed by a technical foul by Tatum with 6:54 remaining in the game. Daniel Jones sunk one free throw, then missed his second. Gavin Trevino proceeded to make a three-pointer, with Jal thus retaking the lead, 40-39 with 6:30 minutes remaining in the game. Jimenez then made a basket, giving Tatum back the lead. The middle of the fourth period became a back-and-forth defensive match, with both teams stealing the ball and having passes intercepted. With two minutes remaining in the game, Josh Cervantes sunk a three-point shot, with the Panthers pulling ahead 47-46. With half a minute remaining in the game, two successful free throws by Jimenez extended Tatum’s slim lead from one to three points, but Trevino proceeded to sink a three-point shot with 20 seconds remaining, tying the game 50-50.

The score would not move from that point before the end of the fourth period. The Coyotes were first to score in the overtime period, when #4, Kivan Cardenas scored a field goal within the first 20 seconds of overtime. Trevino was then fouled but was able to sink only one out of the resulting two free throw shots. With just over two minutes remaining in the overtime period, Tatum led by one point, 52-51. Tatum then intercepted a Jal pass, which was followed by a foul by Damian Soto of Cristian Marizcal. Soto fouled out of the game at that point, with 2:06 remaining in overtime. Marizcal proceeded to sink both his free throws, extending Tatum’s lead to three points. Trevino was able to come up from under the basket and score, making it a one-point game. Julio Viscaino of Tatum responded with his own field goal. Cervantes scored, once again bringing Jal to within one point of Tatum. With just over 13 seconds remaining in overtime, Trevino was able to stop the clock by fouling Viscaino, but the resulting successful free throw gave the Coyotes a two-point lead in the closing moments of the game. Despite their best efforts at stopping the clock by fouling, the Panthers continued to lose ground to the Coyotes, with Jimenez sinking two free throws right before the end of overtime. The final score had Tatum with a win, 59-55, after an incredibly hard-fought, competitive game.

The Panthers’ next game will be this Friday at Eunice (5-5) at 7:00 p.m.

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