Portland High School boys head basketball coach Darryl Travis was pleased with how the Panthers played in the first half.
However, the second half was a different story as host Wilson Central defeated the Panthers, 62-39, in district action.
The Panthers trailed 33-27 at halftime but produced just 12 points over the final 16 minutes of the contest.
“I thought, in the first half, we played extremely well except for rebounding,” Travis said. “We were outrebounded, but we had 11 assists and just five turnovers.
“In the second half, we didn’t show up. We were outworked, outrebounded and made 12 turnovers. It’s hard to win when you score 12 points.”
The Panthers trailed 14-13 after one period of play despite seven points from Montaize Bradley, single field goals by Chase Runyon and Freddy Paxton, and two Duncan Smallwood free throws.
Portland went ahead in the second quarter as Smallwood dropped in a pair from the charity stripe, but Adler Kerr, who finished with a game-high 24 points, buried a 3-pointer to give the Wildcats the lead for good.
Zack Markus netted a three-point bucket as the hosts extended their advantage to six, 24-18, midway through the second.
Smallwood and Runyon trimmed the deficit to two, 24-22, on consecutive shots.
After the two teams exchanged baskets, Kerr recorded a slam off of a turnover, and Hunter Scurlock netted two foul shots as the Wildcats went up 30-24 late in the half.
Runyon fired in a free throw, but Kerr tallied three consecutive points and to create an eight-point advantage, 33-25.
Dawson Kennedy scored inside as the Panthers trailed 33-27 at the break.
Wilson Central took the game over in the second half. Kerr nailed a shot from the three-point stripe and added a field goal for a 38-27 lead.
Caeson Utley scored for the Panthers an,d after a Kerr putback, Smallwood fired in two tosses from the free-throw line as Portland trailed 40-31.
A 9-0 Wildcat run, highlighted by Kerr’s six points, pushed Wilson Central’s margin to 18, 49-31.
Utley dropped in a 3-pointer, and Bradley added a jumper before Markus finished up the third quarter with a long-range shot for a 53-36 edge heading into the final eight minutes of action.
The Wildcats finished up the game with nine points in the fourth period, while Smallwood’s old-fashioned three-point play wrapped up the scoring for the Panthers.
Portland was outscored in field goals, 25-14, while the Wildcats also connected on seven 3-pointers.
Smallwood had a team-high 14 points to top the Panthers in the scoring column, while Bradley finished with nine and Runyon seven. Utley tallied five, and Paxton and Kennedy each contributed two.
Markus added 18 points for the Wildcats.