Tigers Demolish North County on Senior Night, Fall in OT Stunner to Panthers

The Festus Tigers blow past North County, but suffer another heart-breaking loss this season. This time in the form of an overtime loss at the hands of the South Iron Panthers.

The dominant yet frustrating season for the Festus Tigers continued this week, with a convincing 85-54 win over North County and another heart-breaking late loss just three days later. After Tuesday’s big win, the Tigers hosted the South Iron Panthers on Friday night, and despite a late lead, fell victim to a Panther comeback that resulted in a 78-75 overtime loss. It marked the fifth time this season that Festus has lost a game by three or less points in the waining seconds.

The week started off with a very happy Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, which was Senior Night, as the Tigers hosted the Raiders. A 19-6 first quarter set the stage and kicked off what would be an impressive shooting night from downtown. Arhmad Branch and Carter Roth each made a pair of threes to pace the offense early. Then in the second they both helped to extend the lead with more big shots from beyond the arc. Roth hit three more and Branch added another to give Festus a 41-24 halftime lead.

The offensive explosion continued in the third with Roth adding two more threes for a whopping seven on the night and Branch had eight points, including another one of his five total three-pointers. The Tigers outscored the Raiders 25-19 in the quarter and had built an insurmountable lead. In the fourth, Branch hit the team’s final three, and Logan Cash put up six points for the third straight frame. When all the chips fell, Festus won the final eight-minute battle 19-11 and the game 85-54.

Branch led all scorers with 27 points and made five total from downtown. Roth was on fire from three-point land and hit seven to rack up 21 points, while Cash was huge in the paint with nine buckets and a pair of free throws for a cool 20. The big three got it done in style in this one.

Now let’s shift gears to Friday night, where the Tigers were taking on the always tough South Iron Panthers, who are currently protecting back-to-back Class 1 State Championships. The game was rife with back-and-forth offense in the first quarter, with Cash supplying the bulk of it with his 12 points, and the Tigers took a 21-19 lead. The next eight minutes were much more tame, but Festus did manage to extend their lead with a 12-9 frame. Roth hit a pair of threes, in what would be another big night for him, and the Tigers coasted into the break with a 33-28 lead.

After halftime, the Tigers kept up the intensity and came out firing once again. Eleven points and a pair of big threes from Hayden Bates, plus two more from Roth, propelled Festus to a 23-18 third quarter. That gave them a 10-point cushion heading into the final frame, and it looked like the Tigers had this one in the bag.

Unfortunately, the Festus offense sputtered and South Iron came alive. A pair of huge shots from downtown and some nifty work at the free-throw line pulled the Panthers even as time expired. They got exactly what they needed to extend the game and outscored the Tigers 17-7 to force overtime. Festus had a chance to ice the game as the clock expired with the score deadlocked at 63-all, but the attempt missed and the extra period was thrust upon them.

And overtime was wild.

South Iron struck first with a huge three, but Cash answered with a quick bucket. The Panthers scored again, but Roth kept up his hot hand and tickled the twine with another three to tie the game at 68. The visitors kept pouring it on though and gutted out a four-point lead, but Roth wasn’t done, and hit his seventh three to pull the Tigers within one.

Then Festus would be forced to foul, and South Iron would successfully work the line. Then with just seconds left on the clock and the Tigers down 78-74, Branch attempted a three and was fouled, but the shot didn’t drop and the hope for a four-point play dissipated. But Branch got cheeky at the line. After making one of the first two attempts, he intentionally missed the third, got his own rebound, streaked beyond the arc and threw up a Hail Mary to tie the game.

It was a valiant effort, but the shot just missed and the Tigers fell 78-75. What could have been.

Still, it was a heck of a basketball game and the Tigers pulled out all the stops in OT. Cash led the team in scoring with 24 points, but it was Roth from the outside that made the most noise. He hit seven threes for the second consecutive game and amassed 23 points. Bates had 12 as the only other player in double-figures, and Branch, who had an off night, wound up with just eight in the game.

Listen to Coach Therrell’s Post Game Interview with Streamline Sports.

The Tigers will host Fox on Tuesday in their final regular season contest before heading to the District Playoffs. Hopefully a victory will take some of the sting out of the South Iron loss and swing the momentum back in Festus’ favor before the postseason. Tigers Demolish North County on Senior Night, Fall in OT Stunner to Panthers

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