The West boys dropped a pair of games last week to Hawkins and Hunter.

Last Thursday, the Panthers lost to visiting Hunter 43-32.

“Their coach had the luxury of putting in fresh legs,” West coach Bill Runyon pointed out. “Every time we would make a run, he would put his horses back in. I use seven kids the entire game.”

The Panthers led 9-7 after one quarter of action but fell behind in the second period and never led again. The Bucs would build a lead only to have the Purple come back. But the visitors held off each challenge to post the victory.

Hunter raced out to a 5-0 lead before the Purple scored nine of the games next eleven points to lead 9-7. Cannan Russell netted three points in the opening six minutes while Cade Box, Nakeitha Jackson and Caeson Utley all contributed two.

The Bucs tied the game at 9-9 as part of a 10-0 run to open the second quarter and build a 17-9 advantage. Portland West came back as Box completed a 3-point play and tossed in a free throw while Jackson sank a foul shot as the Purple trailed 19-14.

The Bucs closed out the half with a basket and led 21-14 at intermission.

Portland West battled back from a 25-17 difference in the third quarter as Jackson went up for a basket and made it and was fouled and hit the charity toss to close the gap to five, 25-20. Hunter increased their spread to 31-22 before Jackson wrapped up the third quarter scoring with a short jumper.

Hunter went up by double figures as the final six minutes opened with back-to back buckets and a 35-24 edge. Portland West could get no closer than seven (38-31) the reminder of the game when Box made a trio of foul shots. The Bucs put the contest away with five unanswered points over the final 2:02.

Portland West lost to Hawkins on Nov. 28 by a 53-28 margin. The Panthers trailed at the end of each quarter including a 35-17 deficit at halftime. Box led the Purple with 14 points with Isaiah Smith adding four and Utley and Russell each finishing with three. Jackson and Mathew McGee contributed two apiece.

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