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Panthers beat Lions in county showdown

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It was a battle of two Wright County programs last Friday night when the Mountain Grove Panthers hosted the Mansfield Lions.

Early foul trouble eventually meant this contest would be decided at the free throw line and the Panthers responded.

Mountain Grove made an astounding 17-of-20 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter and 26-of-31 in the game to pick up a 60-52 victory.

In the loss, Mansfield made just 13-of-23 free throws as both teams combined for 54 total free throw shots.

Just nearly three minutes into the game, two of Mansfield’s starters had two fouls.

Mountain Grove would open the game with a 7-0 run.

The Lions began to climb back into the game behind two London Dennis 3-pointers. The last 3-pointer paired with Ethan Bennett’s field goal gave the Lions five straight points to cut the lead to 12-10.

In the second quarter, the Lions extended their run to 9-0 after Chase Cartwright stole a pass and converted a layup for the Lions’ first lead of the game.

When Mansfield’s Chase Kelley picked up his third foul, the Panthers took advantage.

Kaden Bruce’s bucket helped complete a 6-0 run. Both Bruce and Tyson Elliott had four points in the quarter as Mountain Grove led 23-21 at halftime.

Mansfield turned the ball over 11 times in the first half.

It was a very sluggish start to the third quarter for both teams as they combined to have six turnovers and scored a combined four points through the first 4:10.

The Panthers managed to have a 5-0 run when Bruce converted a 3-point play and Jase Dowden scored a basket.

Mountain Grove would go on to have an 8-2 run that went into the fourth quarter to take a 42-30 lead.

The Panthers sealed the win in the fourth by making 17-of-20 free throws.

Mansfield would end the game with some late points, but the rally was not enough in the eight point loss.

The Lions turned the ball over 21 times in the loss. They made 16-of-38 shots from the field and 13-of-23 free throws.

The Panthers made 15-of-35 shots from the field and just missed five of their 31 free throw attempts.

Bruce led the Panthers with 21 points, seven steals, four rebounds and three assists while Dowden added 14 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists. Elliott had 11 points, five rebounds one steal and one assist; Drew Vaughan scored six points, two rebounds and one assist; Bryce Stenzel had six points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals; while Hollen Glenn had two points and two rebounds.

As for the Lions, Landen Campbell scored a team-high 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals while Stone Sawyers had eight points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal.

Chase Cartwright added nine points, five rebounds, two steals and two assists; Dennis had six points, three rebounds and one assist; Kelley added five points, one rebound and one steal; Bennett had four points and one steal; while Rylan Adams scored three points, three assists, one rebound and one steal.

Knocking off Strafford

Before beating the Lions, Elliott hit a free throw late in the fourth quarter to seal a 51-50 win over Strafford.

The Indians outscored the Panthers by three points in the first half. This in spite of Bradley Henry’s three, 3-pointers in a 17-point second quarter.

Stenzel came up big for Mountain Grove in the second half.

He scored eight points in the third and seven in the fourth.

He finished with a team-high 17 points. Elliott added 13, Henry had nine, Bruce scored eight points while both Glenn and Dowden had two points.

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