The South Iron Boys Varsity Basketball team travelled to Vashon for the first time ever on Saturday, but despite a valiant effort, lost their second game of the season at the hands of the Wolverines 72-49.
This was South Iron’s toughest competition to date. The Panthers took a bus ride to the city to take on a Wolverines team that features VCU commit Nick Kern and UNLV commit Keshon Gilbert. In short, a team loaded with college and potential NBA talent.
The Panthers hung tough in the first half. They scored nine points in the first quarter and held Vashon to 15. Then in the second quarter they managed nine points and allowed 15. Is there an echo in here?
Respect to the Panthers for traveling a sizable distance and holding their own through the first two quarters, but that didn’t change the fact that Vashon led 30 to 18 at the half, leaving them with a tough uphill battle the rest of the game.
The Panthers made some adjustments at halftime and found some much needed offensive success in the third, outscoring Vashon 14 to 12. However, Vashon still led by ten at the start of the final quarter, holding a 42-32 lead.
South Iron needed that push to keep the score manageable, but the game got away from the Panthers in the fourth. Vashon put their foot on the gas and applied heavy pressure, outscoring South Iron 30 to 17 in the final frame. The elite crew from Iron Country gave it a go, but ultimately the touted Wolverines were too much on this particular occasion and beat the Panthers 72 to 49.
“Overall, the game was a really great experience,” Drenin Dinkins said. “As a team, we can learn and grow to become a better basketball team.”
Dinkins and Brock Wakefield did the majority of the damage for the Panthers. Wakefield led the team with 19 points and Dinkins was just behind with 18 of his own. The talented duo made their mark in several areas on the hardwood despite the tough loss. Wakefield went 6-of-12 shooting from the field and hit 4-of-5 from the stripe, while pulling down five rebounds. Dinkins was 6-of-14 shooting and managed four rebounds and a pair of assists, while hitting three of his five free throws.
Jermarco Burse scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds, while Champ McMurry and DJ Prater each added a bucket to the tally. To his credit, Prater also shared the team lead in boards with five.
But the story of the game was turnovers, as the Panthers handed the ball back 18 times in this one. Likely a stat they will focus on in the the games to come.
Reflecting on the game, Burse had this to say, “Vashon is a tough team… a great program. We needed to be more aggressive on the boards and move the ball around more. We could’ve gotten better looks on the offensive end. We sped up and were trying to play Vashon’s style. We should have made them adjust by playing our style.”
The Panthers were conscious of what this Vashon basketball team brought to the table before they entered the gym Saturday afternoon. They fell short of their goal, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t come home with a lesson learned and a chip on their shoulder.
The Panthers are not a team that enjoys losing. The experience they gained from playing a team like Vashon can be applied to every game they play the rest of the year, and you can bet the farm that they will take that motivation and run with it. Most likely in a fashion that will be at the ultimate demise of every opponent they face the remainder of the season.
Next up for South Iron is another crazy matchup this Tuesday against Class Six Waynesville in Annapolis. The Panthers could make history being the first MSHSSA Class One Basketball Team to beat a Class Six opponent. Expect domination, and no quarter, as these Panthers are likely out for blood.