Porterville was on top of their competitive league, but then lost two games of three games to drop into second place
PORTERVILLE – As the regular season dwindles down, the East Yosemite League is one of many leagues that will have an exciting fight to the finish. Porterville was in first place but then suffered two devastating losses to Monache and Tulare Western. Last Wednesday they kept their hopes alive with a 61-55 win over Mission Oak.
The Panthers are in the mix for first place, but the momentum is not on their side. After losing to Monache, they were still in good shape as those two teams were tied. They then lost to the Mustangs so those two teams are now tied for second and are one game behind the first place Marauders. Luckily for the Panthers, they control their own destiny to at least share a piece of the title. If they win all three of their remaining games then they could tie either Monache or Tulare Western for first place. The journey will not be easy as the three teams in their way are Tulare Union, Delano and Monache.
The Tribe is having another down season as they haven’t won a league game since February 2018. There’s no team scarier than a desperate one so the Panthers must bring their A-game. The same goes for their match-up against the Tigers who have an outside chance at a share of first-place as they are 4-3. They were able to knock-off the Mustangs which goes to show that any team in this league can win on any night.
If Porterville wants to close out the season with a piece of the trophy, they will need their starting unit to play as strong as they did against Mission Oak. The game was not as close as the score indicated, as the Panther bench allowed a crazy run in the game’s final minute. They only allowed seven points in each of the first two quarters while scoring 14 and 17 respectively.
The Panthers ended the first half on a large run with more than 10 unanswered points. Their fast break was killing the Hawks and they were getting consistent buckets in transition. While Porterville’s offense was clicking, Mission Oak’s offense was struggling and looked out of sorts. Junior guard Darren See tried his best to carry the load but didn’t get much help as he scored five of their seven points.
The Hawks must have figured some things out at half time because their third quarter offense was on a completely different level. It was much of the same for the Panthers and so the team two teams combined for 36 points, just nine points shy of the total combined score at halftime. Porterville had scored two more points and with their halftime lead they went into the final period up 50-31.
The rest of the game consisted of the Panthers sitting on the lead. Their bench received ample minutes but nearly squandered the lead as the team was outscored 24-11. See tried his best to play superhero with 14 points in the period and he was the reason the Hawks went on to only lose by six points.