PRAIRIE CITY - What started out as a walk in the park for the Prairie City boys basketball team Jan. 20 changed into a true barn burner, but the Panthers were able to hang on and pick up their second victory in a close game on two consecutive Friday nights dropping Long Creek 56-54.
The previous Friday, Jan. 13, the Panthers pulled out a squeaker stopping Monument/ Dayville 60-59.
Prairie City (7-2 TriCo) tallied 22 points in the first quarter to hold what appeared to be a comfortable 22-8 lead over the 2-8 Mountaineers, but the tide turned in a hurry.
Behind five points each from Craig Hunt and Octavian Marcu and four by James Norris, Long Creek outscored Prairie City 14-6 in the second quarter to shave the lead to 28-22 at halftime.
"Long Creek had some effort tonight, but we played a very poor game," said Panthers' coach Denis Fast. "We really need to improve our overall
effort. We played a good first quarter and then it was like our intensity went away. Luckily we came out with a win. We're
still sitting good in the league, we just have to up our effort."
Prairie City surged ahead in the third quarter behind a 13-point effort by Yazzie Voigt to put the lead back into double digits, 46-34.
Voigt finished with a game-high 24 points.
"It was all the black sleeves we wore before the game, it brought us luck," he said. "I didn't think we shot the ball very well and we didn't rebound. We missed a lot of easy shots and some of our big men got in foul trouble. But, we still got the victory."
In the final eight minutes, Long Creek mounted a big rally outscoring Prairie City 20-10 and had a chance to tie the score with eight seconds left when the Panthers turned the ball over.
However, James Norris failed to control the ball and Prairie City was able to regain possession.
"We could have been in overtime if I wouldn't have turned the ball over," he said.
Norris led the Mountaineers with 15 points.
Craig Hunt scored 13 points before fouling out of the game with 2:40 remaining.
"It wasn't one of my best games, but we did all right. We're playing more as a team now," he said.
Senior Casey Witt had a big game for Long Creek scoring 11 points, three of which came on 3-point goals.
"That was insane. I didn't think any of them were going in," he said.
Levi Voigt was the second Prairie City player in double figures with 16 points.
GirlsPrairie City 45, Long Creek 18The game was over after the first quarter of play.
Long Creek went 0-13 from the floor and turned the ball over seven times in the first period, allowing the Prairie City girls to take a 20-0 lead and cruise to their fifth victory in the TriCo League with a 45-18 win over the Lady Mountaineers.
Kayla Reid scored six points for Prairie City in the first quarter and six more in the second on a basket and a 4-for-4 effort from the free throw line. Reid finished with a game-high 17 points.
By halftime, the Lady Panthers (5-4) were ahead 28-6 over the 2-8 Lady Mountaineers.
Long Creek's first basket came at the 4:00 mark of the second quarter when April
Drew knocked a jump shot down from just outside the paint.
"I was off key tonight and I don't know why," she said. "We could have had this game tonight, but I don't think we worked enough as a team. We got behind in that first quarter and that got our attitudes down. At halftime, the coach told us just put a smile on your face and just go out and have fun. We tried to do that."
Drew scored six points for the Lady Mountaineers.
Becky Born scored a team-high 10 points, but wasn't pleased with her performance.
"It was pretty bad," she said. "I don't know what was wrong."
Prairie City's Meaghan Keffer scored five of her seven points in the second half, including a long 3-point bomb in the third period.
"I've been waiting all season for that," the smiling sophomore said. "I'm really happy with the way we played tonight."
Freshman Sherree Wright said she thought the Lady Panthers didn't play too badly.
"It was sort of a laid-back game but, you know, we came out and whipped them pretty good," she said.