It was business as usual for the South Iron Boys Varsity Basketball team this week, as the Panthers gutted one out against Arcadia Valley before stomping St. Pius X. The victories bumped the Panthers’ record to a perfect 8-0 and have them primed to cruise into the holiday break.
The Arcadia Valley game was a tight one. South Iron jumped out on top in the first with 21 points and held the Tigers to a mere 11, so things were looking good to start. Those things got tighter in the second though, with the Panthers narrowly edging AV 17-16. They went into the break with a solid 38-27 lead, but you could feel the pressure building from the Tigers.
After halftime, the Panthers remained in control with a 16-11 third quarter, but Arcadia Valley was coming. They brought heavy defensive pressure in the fourth, and the Tiger offense finally woke up. They put up a game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter, but because they were trailing by so much heading in, they were forced to foul. And the Panthers took advantage at the line.
South Iron went to the line 32 times and made 24 of those attempts, which heavily contributed to a 28-point final frame, and essentially won them the game. With those buckets at the charity stripe, they were able to down the Tigers 82-70 and win their seventh straight to start the season.
Sawyer Huff was a madman from beyond the arc in this one, as he hit 4-of-5 for a team leading 26 points. He was supported by Jermartez Burse, who was good for 19 points, three steals and a 10-of-12 performance from the line. Gabe Ruble hit a trio of treys for 17 points, and Jermarquis Burse led the team in rebounds with 10, to go along with his six points and two steals.
Head Coach Dusty Dinkins commented on the victory with, “Very excited that our guys were able to overcome foul trouble and finish out the game with poise and togetherness. We were able to withstand AV’s defensive pressure in the 4th quarter and make key free-throws down the stretch that helped secure the win!”
Next the Panthers would take on St. Pius X, and the first half of this one would be a battle. South Iron had the edge in the first quarter, but just barely, as they won the war of attrition 13-11. The second wouldn’t be much different with a 12-10 frame in favor of the Panthers, giving them a slim 25-21 lead going into halftime.
After the break, the Panther offense erupted. They dropped 17 on the Lancers and allowed just four, as the defense was in peak form. They rode that momentum into the final frame. Pius came out gunning with 18 points, but they were forced to foul to the nth degree. Jermartez Burse was the continuous recipient, as he had 14 trips to the line. Thankfully he made eight of those and the Panthers put up 21 to seal the deal with a 63-43 victory.
Jermartez Burse was otherworldly in this one, as he drained 31 points to lead all scorers, led the team with six boards and had an insane 10 steals. Quite the resume builder here. Jermarquis Burse was next in line as far as scoring with his 10 points, and he was the only other player in double figures.
This was just another day at the office for the South Iron Panthers, who are now a perfect 8-0 on the season and will look to keep the line moving. They have one more game before the holiday break, as they will hots St. Paul Lutheran on 12/20.