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A lackluster performance during the second quarter sent the Carroll County Panthers to the halftime locker room trailing by 16. The Panthers showed defensive tenacity during the second half reducing the deficit to six points with 1:30 left to play, but fell 69-61 to visiting Kentucky Country Day, Monday.
“We’ve got to learn that we have to play 32 minutes, not just 26,” Panther Head Coach Carroll Yager said after the game.
The Panthers started well, taking a 15-10 advantage late in the opening quarter. KCD came charging back to lead, 19-17, at the quarter stop, then reeled off seven unanswered points to start the second period.
“I think we started really well, then we kind of got away from what we were doing,” Yager said. “We lost our focus on the offensive end.”
Andy Sisenstein kept the Panthers in the ballgame during the first half with nine points. Leading scorer Will Yager was held to only one field goal in the first 16 minutes of play.
“I thought in the second half we really played hard to get back in it,” Coach Yager said. “We played a little bit more intensely. That was what was missing in the first half. We just kind of relaxed a little bit and they took advantage of it.”
The Panthers trimmed the KCD advantage to 13 by the end of the third quarter forcing the Bearcats to turn the ball over on six possessions. Another six turnovers in the final eight minutes helped the Panthers get back in the contest. Carroll County showed tremendous hustle in fourth quarter and fought hard until the final horn sounded.
“I am proud of hustle at the end but I’m a little frustrated at the same time because that’s really been the missing ingredient that’s been keeping us from getting over that hump,” Yager said. “If we could just play that way for 32 minutes.”
Will Yager scored 20 points in the second half and finished the game with 22 to lead all scorers. Sisenstein tallied 13 and D.C. Craig added 12 for the Panthers. KCD had four players scoring in double figures.
Several players came off the bench to make contributions for the Panthers.
“Our two freshmen have really started to make progress,” Yager said of Trey Boles and Dallas Gibson. “They came in and did some good things tonight.”
Carroll County, now 3-14 on the season, are hoping to break a six-game losing streak when they travel to Eminence on Saturday.