by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG — Four Panthers scored in double digits as John Mall breezed past the Swink Lions in basketball action last Friday, winning 54-42.
Phillip Valdez was the team’s leading scorer with 11. He was joined by teammates Milton Perez, Armando Ruiz and Nikko Valdez, each with ten.
The Panthers shot 42% from the field and 54% from the line, a major factor in their league win. The Lions shot 32%. The Lions out-rebounded the Panthers 40 to 26, but John Mall converted their offensive boards under the nets to score points. The Panthers were relentless in the first half with man-to-man defense, forcing 15 turnovers. They opened up a thirteen point, 33-20 point halftime lead. By the end of the third quarter, the Panthers lead dropped by six, 42-22. John Mall resumed their man-to-man defense and executed near perfect ball control, controlling the game’s tempo and begining to run away with the game midway in the fourth.
The victory was the Panthers first league win. They sit in fifth place with a 1-2 league record (2-5 overall). Crowley County is first with a 4-0 record (8-0) followed by Fowler at 3-0 (5-3). In third are the Hoehne Farmers at 3-0 (7-1).
The Panthers will be in Pueblo West tomorrow night to face the Swallows Academy Spartans with action beginning at 4 pm. Swink 9 11 16 6 42 John Mall 16 17 9 12 54