When you have three players standing at 6-foot-5 or taller on a high school basketball team, it can create problems for the opposition.
Visiting East Central found that out as it battled Jennings County on Saturday night.
The Panthers celebrate their season-opening game with a 53-37 victory. A monstrous 22-8 third quarter fueled the Jennings County victory.
The Trojans (0-1) struggled most of the night trying to score in the paint as Panthers’ 6-9 center Brad Hunt and 6-6 forward Tyler Vogel wreaked havoc on the East Central offense.
On offense, Jennings County dominated in the paint as well. Jennings County coach Joe Hartwell said the Panthers’ second-chance opportunities were a key to the win.
“We got a lot of second-chance baskets tonight,” Hartwell said. “They were in a zone all night, and we relied on (the advantage) in the paint to put up points.”
Hartwell said it was an overall fine defensive effort for the Panthers.
“Tyler (Vogel) and Brad (Hunt) were outstanding tonight,” Hartwell said. “Offensively and defensively they created many chances inside and came away with big numbers.”
East Central decided to take its chances behind the arc, scoring four 3-pointers in the first half, two being from guard Chad Spencer, who led the Trojans with 16 points.
However, the Panthers’ fine teamwork resulted in baskets as well, such as one beautiful pass from guard Johnny Scruggs to Hunt for an alley-oop dunk that brought the student section to its feet, and put the Panthers up 24-23 at intermission.
“I thought we had great energy, but we were sloppy at times,” Hartwell said. “We didn’t have many turnovers, but we weren’t really crisp with our offense, either.”
Panthers’ guard Adrian Kirchner connecting on two consecutive 3-pointers early in the third quarter, and that was followed by a second dunk by Hunt that helped the Panthers take control.
Hunt finished with 20 points, while Vogel scored 15 points in his high school varsity debut.
Hartwell said the first game showed exactly what the team needs to work on to get better.
“We have little things we need to focus on after this game, but it’s always great to get a win in your first game.” Hartwell said.
“Our guys came out real focused and excited tonight,” Hartwell said “We have to get better on offense and work on our defensive rotations in the coming practices, but I’m real excited for the team.”