The Mountain Grove Panthers basketball team was looking for a momentum-building win last Friday night when they took on an 11-4 Gainesville squad who is just sitting outside the Top-10 in Class 2. Just days away from competing in a stacked Mountain Grove Family Pharmacy tournament, the Panthers gained the momentum they needed with an impressive 51-46 victory over the Bulldogs. This happened in spite of Gainesville center Bryce Hambelton’s double-double of 12 points and 21 rebounds. In fact, Hambelton had nine rebounds in the first quarter. Early on in the game, Gainesville held an early six point edge before Kaden Bruce made two 3-pointers. Bryce Stenzel’s near 3-point play cut the Bulldogs’ lead to four at the end of the first quarter. Gainesville began to pull away in the second quarter with a 7-0 run to go up eight points.
Down 10, the Panthers rallied as Drew Vaughan hit a 3-pointer before Bradley Henry closed off the quarter with a 3-pointer from half-court at the buzzer. Henry’s shot sent the Panthers into halftime with the momentum, trailing by just one point. Henry’s shot was big for the Panthers as they made just 4-of-17 shots from the field in the second quarter. In the third quarter, Mountain Grove had a big 8-0 run. Bruce made three, 3-pointers in the frame and Jase Dowden scored four points. Hollen Glenn nearly converted a 3-point play as the Panthers tied the game at 39-39.
After turning the ball over just two times during the first three quarters, Mountain Grove had four early turnovers in the fourth as they were down one.
Bryce Stenzel made a pass to Dowden late as Dowden completed a 3-point play to put the Panthers in front, 50-46.
Foul trouble helped the Panthers in the fourth as they made 5-of-8 to seal the five point win. Bruce made six 3-pointers and finished the game with 18 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists. Dowden tallied eight points, six rebounds, one steal and one assist; Stenzel had six points, seven assists, four rebounds, one steal and one block; Henry added five points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal; Vaughan had four points, three rebounds and one assist; Glenn had four points, four rebounds, one steal and one assist; while Isiah Hellbusch scored two points.
Macey Penner was crowned Hoop Queen before the game.
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