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A big play by junior forward Zach Wise at the end of regulation play bought some extra time for the Carroll County Panthers in last week’s home matchup with Henry County. Carroll’s hopes disintegrated in the overtime period, however, as the Panthers couldn’t find the basket and fell 59-50 for their 10th loss in 13 starts this season.
With the game tied at 33-33 after three quarters of play Carroll County battled to a 39-35 advantage with six minutes remaining in the contest. The Wildcats regained the lead with about four minutes to go and held a 46-43 advantage with 44 seconds left. A basket by Carroll’s D.C. Craig with 25 seconds remaining pulled the Panthers within one. Carroll’s Will Yager fouled Henry’s Jacobi Baldwin with 18.4 seconds remaining. Baldwin hit one of two free throw tries, leaving Carroll trailing 47-45.
Instead of patiently setting up a good percentage shot the Panthers dashed down the floor for an ill-advised field goal attempt which was rebounded by the Wildcats. Andy Sisenstein was whistled for a foul sending Henry County to the line with 8.5 seconds on the clock.
The Panthers grabbed the rebound of the missed front end of the one-and-bonus free throw attempt and put the ball in the hands of Yager who fired a jumper from the lane. The shot rimmed out but Wise was there for the buzzer-beating putback that sent the game into overtime.
“Zach Wise played hard all the way until the horn sounded,” Panther Head Coach Carroll Yager said. “That was a great play by him to follow through on that shot.”
Henry County quickly jumped out to a 51-47 advantage in the overtime forcing the Panthers to call time out and attempt to regroup.
“I was hoping as we went into the overtime that maybe now we have another chance. I was thinking we’re going to make this happen,” Coach Yager said. “I don’t know if fatigue was a factor as much as once (Henry County) got a lead it changed how we were going to play them.”
The Panthers managed to connect on only one of six field goal attempts and one of two free throw shots in the extra period while the Wildcats canned three of five shots from the field and sank six of eight charity tosses en route to the win.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” Coach Yager said following the game. “It’s the same story we’ve been in before. A shot here or there won’t go down and we made some bad decisions. When it was coming down to the end and the clock was running out they made some plays and we didn’t. We’re still trying to learn how to finish.”
Henry was led by Jeffries with a game-high 22 points. Baldwin added 18. The Wildcats connected on 22 of 45 shots from the field and 11 of 19 from the line.
Ethan Stewart led the Panthers with 14, Sisenstein had 12 and Will Yager tossed in nine. The Panthers hit 13 of 18 free throws but struggled from the field, canning only 16 of 51 shots.
One bright spot for Carroll County was a strong rebounding effort. The Panthers pulled down 36 boards, to Henry’s 24.
“I think the harder you play the luckier you get,” Yager said. “We just have to learn to play harder.”