Jamestown, NY- It was a tale of two halves down at the Jamestown Community College athletic center on Friday night. The Section VI Class D championship was up for grabs between the Clymer Pirates and
Panama Panthers in front of a capacity crowd.
Early on it looked as if the Pirates would run away with an easy win as their junior forward Kaden Beckerink knocked down one shot after another. Panama however stuck to their gameplan and seized
momentum late in the game to pull off a 41-37 victory.
Alex Barmore led the Panthers with 14 points earning Player of the Game honors. Beckerink finished with 18 to lead all scorers.
“We watched a lot of tape this week on Clymer,” Panama head coach Ed Nelson said. “When Kaden gets hot that’s trouble. We know he’s a good shooter so we didn’t want him to have to many good looks at
the basket.” Beckerink scored 10 of his 18 in the first quarter.
Defensively the Pirates did a great job contesting Panama’s jumpers in the first half, allowing Clymer to race out to a 16-6 advantage after the first quarter.
Panama continued to battle and create turnovers outscoring the Pirates 9-8 to close out the half.
In the third, the Panthers finally hit their stride and shots started to fall. This is where Barmore began to assert himself in the paint. His teammates fed him and Barmore ate. If there was an offensive rebound to be had, Barmore came down with it.
The Panthers aggressive defense helped turn the tide, trailing 32-23 with under two minutes in the third, Panama went on a 9-0 run, capped off by a buzzer beating trey compliments of Gabe Roth,marking the game at 32-all.
Panama pulled away in the fourth.
“We played really good, complimentary basketball tonight,” Nelson said. “I have to give a ton of credit to assistant coach Chris Payne. He put the game plan together and saw some things out there tonight
that helped us modify what we were doing down low, defensively. It’s very special to me to share this win with him, he’s someone I’ve admired for a long time, he was my football coach many years ago.”
Panama will now move onto the far west regional round where they will play an opponent from Section V at Rush-Henrietta next weekend.
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