We’d say the Panthers are picking up steam at just the right time, but they’ve been full steam ahead since day one. The South Iron Boys Varsity Basketball squad now sports an unblemished 9-0 record after dispatching of St. Paul Lutheran 71-28 on Tuesday.
The Panthers hosted their final tune up before the annual Christmas Tournament, and made mincemeat out of St. Paul. The devastation started early, and didn’t quit. South Iron went up 18-3 in the first quarter, hitting their shots and draping a suffocating defensive blanket over their opponents.
They continued that trend in the second, ramping up their scoring to 24 points, and holding Lutheran to a mere eight. The wheels were in motion in this one, and it would take an absolute miracle to turn the tide with the Panthers up 42-11 at the half.
That miracle would never come. South Iron kept up the hot hand offensively and drained another 23 points in the third quarter. There was not rust after the break as they looked to get into a position to ice their opponent before the final frame. They gave up 11, but had the game firmly in hand with a 65-22 lead going into the fourth.
That lead afforded the Panthers the luxury of sending in the subs in the last period, and both teams labored to the tune of a 6-6 effort. It didn’t matter a lick though, as South Iron found themselves with a 72-28 victory and nine straight to open the season.
Jermartez Burse was once again the main focus of the offense, leading all scorers with 30 points. In fact, he outscored the entire St. Paul team. He also managed a double-double with 11 rebounds and shot a fantastic 12-of-16 from the floor. Gabe Ruble was next in line with 11 points, hit a big three and picked up a couple of steals. Jermarquis Burse was the only other player in double digits with 10 on 5-of-8 shooting.
The Panthers seem to be unstoppable at this point, and will look to carry this lofty momentum into the annual Bob Sechrest Jr. Christmas Tournament next week in Park Hills.