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Panthers collapse in final minutes

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The Jennings County boys basketball team seemed to be on its way to a dominating victory against visiting Madison.

But Madison had other plans.

Trailing 45-33 going into the final quarter, Madison outscored the Jets 25-8 in the final eight minutes for a 56-53 victory against the stunned Panthers.

“We lost all sense of attack in the fourth quarter,” Jennings County coach Joe Hartwell said. “They put a lot of pressure on us, and we were very passive and timid. As soon as they got a couple steals and made a few shots we knew we were in trouble.”

The Panthers dropped to 6-5 overall and 1-1 in the Hoosier Hills Conference. Madison raised its record to 7-1 and 2-1.

Even with Madison’s rally, the Panthers still had a chance to win with the game tied at 53-53 in the final seconds, but Madison senior Carson Wattenbarger dropped a 3-pointer at the final buzzer for the victory.

Aggressive defense by Madison forced five Jennings County turnovers in the final two minutes of the game during the comeback.

With 1:15 left in the contest, Madison senior Landon Perry hit a pair of free throws to give the Cubs a one point lead, their first since the opening score of the game.

Madison overcame a strong game by Jennings County 6-foot-9 senior Brad Hunt, who scored 17 points. Hunt stepped out to defend Wattenbarger on the final shot of the game, but the Madison forward still made the shot.

“He (Wattenbarger) made the shot four feet behind the arc with Brad’s hand in his face,” said Hartwell. “I can’t be unhappy with our coverage. He took a very tough shot and he made it.”

Other leading scorers for the Panthers included Dan Leach with 12 points and Richard McNamee with nine points. Leading Madison was Perry with 17 points and Nick Macon and Kyle Tucker with 11 points each.

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