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Panthers look to finish strong

Gowanda’s Brennan Geiger said he is looking for his team to take care of the ball and rebound better, along with being more consistent, after the Panthers lost their third straight game. (Photo by David Eckhardt)
The Gowanda boys’ basketball team is in a bit of a funk but remains hopeful in finishing the season strong. The Panthers dropped their third straight game, falling to league foe Randolph on Monday (Jan. 27).

The Panthers fell to 8-6 on the season, including a 1-5 record in league play, with the 56-37 loss against the visiting Cardinals. Gowanda now sits in fifth place in the CCAA East I standings, with four league games remaining this season.

“These last four games will be extremely critical for us,” said Gowanda head coach Andy Bobseine. “We still have the opportunity to finish league play with a .500 record if we win these last four. We’re going to take it one game at a time and we’ll see where we stack up at the end of the season.

“We can’t do anything about the slow start that we had in our league, but we do have complete control over how we can end the season. We want to finish the season on a positive note, and better position ourselves for the playoffs.”

Against Randolph, the Panthers opened the game strong offensively and trailed by just five points after the first quarter. Gowanda outscored Randolph, 15-14 in the second and trailed, 32-28, at halftime.

The second half belonged to Randolph, though, as the Cardinals held Gowanda to just nine second half points. Randolph’s 24-9 edge in the half was too much for the Panthers to overcome.

“We struggled to get anything going offensively during the second half, ultimately, that’s what did us in,” said Gowanda guard Carter Benton. “Give credit to Randolph — they made some adjustments in the second half that influenced the way we played offensively. We have to do a better job of playing complete games. Lately, its been one good half and one bad half. We have to get back to how we were playing earlier in the season and fighting all the way through games.”

Brennan Geiger and Zach Stevens each scored 11 points to lead the way offensively for the Panthers. Also, sophomore Lucas Brawdy finished with 6 points.

“I thought we played a solid game defensively, our man-to-man defense was good all game long,” said Bobseine. “We held their top two scorers to 17 points combined and being down just four at the half had us feeling confident.

“The first four minutes of the third quarter was where the game got away from us. We came out of the half sluggish and couldn’t overcome it. We still held them to 24 points in the second half; we just couldn’t make our shots on offense.”

With four games left on the schedule until the playoffs, the Panthers are looking to put together some wins to close out the regular season.

“In order to finish the season on a strong note, we must get better in a couple key areas of our game,” said Geiger. “We have to do a better job of protecting the ball; if we limit our turnovers then we’ll be more successful on the offensive side of the ball. Also, we must rebound the ball better and we need to be more consistent throughout the game. If we improve these three areas, we will have more success as we approach the postseason.”

Gowanda was slated to get back on the court Jan. 29 against Allegheny-Limestone.

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