Fresh off of a third consecutive Black River League Tournament Championship, the South Iron Boys Basketball team threw gasoline on the fire that is their current 11-game winning streak. This week the Varsity Panthers blew through Fredericktown and Class 6 Waynesville to push their record to a gaudy 18-2.
The Black Cats of Fredericktown were doomed from the start in this one as South Iron jumped out to a 22-10 lead after just eight minutes of play. As if that wasn’t a big enough blow to the collective ego of Fredericktown, the Panthers dropped a 24-burger on the Black Cats in the second and held them to just eight points for a silly 46-20 halftime lead.
The Black Cats came out pumped after the break though and put up by far their best quarter, but the Panthers still edged them out 22-21. The fourth was close as well, but South Iron had the luxury of a huge lead, and still managed to win out 18-16 in the final frame. That made it a cool 86-57 victory and bumped their winning streak to 10.
The big three were at it again in this one, as Drenin Dinkins, DJ Prater and Champ McMurry all finished in double figures and accounted for the majority of the Panthers’ scoring. Dinkins led the way with 26, hitting 4-of-8 from downtown and led the club with eight rebounds, while Prater followed him up with 18, six boards, six assists and a team-high five steals. McMurry rounded out the top performers with 16 points and five rebounds.
Next up were the Tigers of Waynesville, a Class 6 school, and a welcome challenge for the pride of small-town Annapolis. Challenge accepted and completed. The Panthers stepped up in this one and set the tone in the first half, going up 23-10 in the opening quarter and 17-12 in the second. For those doing math at home that translates to a 40-22 halftime lead.
The second 16 minutes were much tighter, but South Iron had already done enough damage to put themselves in a winning position. Despite losing the third 16-15 and the fourth 24-21, they had more than enough leeway with their first half assault to coast to a cool 76-62 victory. That gave them an 11-game winning streak and pushed their growingly impressive record to 18-2 on the season.
Head Coach Dusty Dinkins gushed about his boys in this one, saying, “Waynesville is a Class 6 school that is starting to come together and has been playing well as of late. They have good guard and post play. Our team did an excellent job of playing well start to finish. It was another outing where we received impactful minutes from all who saw the court! We are excited about where we are and moving into February!”
The usual suspects were at large once again in this one with Drenin Dinkins leading the way with a whopping 30 points. He hit six shots from beyond the arc and chipped in with four rebounds and three assists as well. McMurry was next in line with 18 points and and Prater had the game’s only double-double with 15 points and 10 boards. It was a collectively impactful effort on all fronts though as nearly every player who stepped on the court register a bucket.
The Panthers look to keep the line moving and extend their winning streak on 2/1 as they travel to Clearwater in search of their 19th W of the season.