JOHN?DAY?- "Unfortunately we didn't get a win for Tel," said head coach Darren Lemon.

Tel Winegar and exchange student Jerry Liu will both graduate this spring from Prairie City High School. Each of the boys, and the rest of the team, would have liked to have ended their basketball season on a higher note.

But the season was still a good one, said Lemon. They had a 7-9 record coming into last week's tournament.

Coming in ranked as No. 8 in the High Desert League meant the Panther boys had to meet No. 1-ranked Jordan Valley in their first game Thursday night, Feb. 18.

Jordan Valley defeated Prairie City, 53-20.

"It didn't go the way we wanted it to, but Thursday night a lot of things went well," said Lemon. "I'm very pleased with the way the boys played."

Prairie City put in 5 points in the first quarter, 6 in the second, 4 in the third, and 5 in the final, outscored by the Mustangs each time, Jordan Valley taking 14, 15, 11 and 13, respectively.

For the Panthers, Cole Hoberg shot 7 points in the game and five rebounds. Brady Doty had 6 points in the game and seven rebounds. Jerry Liu added 3 points and had nine rebounds. Sawyer Schulze and Marshall Mecham each had 2 points; Schulze had two rebounds, and Mecham had four.

Other rebounds came from Derek Kell (3), Cory Hayes (4), Tel Winegar (1).

d Kodi Bremner (2).

Unfortunately, shooting was off for the night.

"We shot 8 percent for the night. The boys missed a lot of good shots. Shots that went to the rim would roll out," said the coach. Had the shooting been more successful earlier, they would have had more opportunity to compete, Lemon added.

"By the start of the fourth quarter, emotions were down, but the guys kept fighting all the way to the end," he said.

Less than 12 hours later, a tired crew of Panthers faced No. 4-ranked Adrian. Adrian won 57-47.

"Adrian went to a zone, with five big kids parked inside the key," said Lemon. "Our guys had a hard time getting the ball inside."

But a lot of good shots in the fourth quarter brought the game to fewer than 10 points, a statistic the coach is proud of.

The score was even at the end of the first quarter of the game, tied at 12-12. The Panthers had 11 points in the second to the Antelopes' 18. Then in the third, the Antelopes pulled away, outscoring Prairie 13-4. But the Panthers came back strong in the fourth quarter, scoring 20 points to Adrian's 14, although they couldn't pull out a win.

"Our guys started competing with them. Some missed shots and the physical drain from the night before, the boys lost a lot of steam. They were playing on reserve," Lemon added.

High scorer for the Panthers was Doty with 18 points. Hoberg had 16 points: Kell, 6; Schulze 3, and Winegar and Mecham, each 2.

In rebounding, Mecham and Hoberg each led with nine; Doty had five; Kell, Liu, Winegar, Bremner each had two; and Schulze, one.

"Overall, they played very well. We had a lot of heart and hustle from seniors trying to get that win in the tournament," Lemon concluded. "For our younger players it was a good learning experience for next year when we get back here, they'll take along some of the mistakes they learned and the positives, too, and build on it..."

Lemon said the team is aiming toward the league's upper eschelon: "One day we will get there."

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