Although missing several players, Alba-Golden came out firing against Grand Saline last Friday evening and held off a determined Indian team giving the Panthers a 43-38 District 12-3A win. Alba-Golden played just six players the entire game against Grand Saline.
Sophomore Hayden Weissert buried a trey from the left corner to get the scoring started giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead. Two buckets each from Jacob Dailey and Boedy Baker put Alba-Golden up 13-7. The Panthers ended the first quarter with a Tim Mitchell free throw and a driving Weissert basket to make it 16-9.
Will Hartin put the Panthers up 19-9 after hitting a triple from the top of the key. Grand Saline’s defense got tough and the Indians fought back with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 19-19 with 2:35 to go in the half. After going almost six minutes without a score, Weissert popped in another three-point shot and Baker hit a bucket with 10 seconds left in the half to give the Panthers a 24-19 lead at the half.
Defense was the name of the game in the second half. Hartin did come through with a big three-pointer to break a tie and give the Panthers a 33-30 lead with 1:43 left in the third quarter. Mitchell came back with another short jumper to make it 35-30, but a Grand Saline triple cut it to 35-33 going into the final eight minutes.
Alba-Golden slowed the pace of the game in the final quarter. Dailey hit a free throw to give the Panthers a 39-35 lead as the clock was winding down. A successful three-point shot by Grand Saline brought the Indians within one point at 39-38. With 17 seconds remaining Weissert calmly hit a pair of free throws followed by two more charity tosses from Hartin to give the Panthers a hard fought 43-38 victory.
The hustling play of Hartin at the point guard spot led the way as the junior hit for 14 points followed by Weissert with 12, Baker eight, Dailey six and Mitchell three.
It was a solid team effort for Alba-Golden. The Panthers are still in the thick of the District 12-3A race to the playoffs. After hosting Edgewood Tuesday, the Panthers go to Emory to take on the Rains Wildcats Friday.
By Larry Tucker
This article may be found, as originally published, at Wood County Monitor online.