Panthers 2nd in district

By John Earp

Last Saturday evening at the Eunice High School Gym, the Jal Panthers faced off against the Eunice Cardinals in a battle for the district title. The first period was very much a defensive game, as the two archrivals battled back and forth for the lead. By the end of the first period, the Cardinals led 14-11. The second period was just as competitive as the first, with three minutes remaining before halftime, the Panthers had tied it up at 18 with a couple of very nice three-pointers from Nolbert Cervantes. With about 40 seconds remaining in the first half, Gabriel Juarez grabbed a rebound and put it in for two, giving Jal the lead for the first time in the game. At halftime, the game was tied up at 20, in a very exciting but defensively oriented game of intense competition.

The Cardinals came out with a vengeance in the beginning of the third period, scoring seven unanswered points in the first three minutes of the period, leading 27-20. The Panthers seemed to have lost their footing in the first half of the third period, with several missed rebounds and missed shots. With 4:17 remaining in the third, the Cardinals had racked up a ten-point lead, 32-22. By the end of the third, the Cardinals led 44-29, which really told the tale. The Cardinals’ ability to score more points in the third period than they had scored in all of the first half, with the Panthers scoring one point less than they had scored in the first two periods, the momentum was most definitely favoring the Cardinals.

The game slowed down remarkably during the fourth period, with Jal scoring five points in the first six minutes, and the Cardinals scoring six. The Panthers were not able to regain the ground lost in the third period to Eunice. The final score was 53-40.

The Panthers thus were runners-up in district, and will play at Mesa Vista in the first round of the state tournament this coming Saturday.