The final 3 minutes of Thursday’s basketball game between the Prairie City Panthers and Sherman Huskies boys had fans on the edge of their seats as the teams tied the score three times.
Prairie City, now 7-0 on the season, came out victorious 54-52 in the competitive match between the teams that met up at last season’s quarterfinal round in the Panthers’ climb to second in state.
Levi Burke led Prairie City in scoring with 27 points, followed by Jojari Field with 12.
Burke, Field, Cole Deiter and Lucas McKinley combined for the first 10 points of the game before Sherman found the basket.
The Panthers, up 30-18 at the half, never gave up the lead.
Sherman tried to come back, outshooting the Panthers 19-9 in the third quarter to come within a 2-point margin, 39-37, heading into the final 8 minutes.
Deiter grabbed a defensive rebound, and Burke sank a shot for 2. Holman added 2, followed by 2 from Field at the free-throw line.
When Sherman tied the score, 47-47, Prairie City’s tallest, 6-foot-5 Deiter and 6-foot-4 Burke, worked together on two of the final three shots.
Deiter assisted Burke to make it 49-47, and later with a minute and a half to go, Burke again broke a tie with a 3-pointer. Sherman’s Wade Fields answered back with a 3-pointer to tie it again, 52-52.
At the buzzer, Deiter assisted Burke who sank a long 2-point shot.
Prairie City head coach Sam Workman said he was pleased with his team.
“It shows how hard they can try,” he said. “They played hard on defense. Sherman is a tough team. I knew that they’d be hunting for us, and we don’t ever want to lose in our own house.”
Burke said the game made them realize they can’t let up while facing quality teams like Sherman.
“It was definitely good for us because we haven’t been in a situation like that,” he said. “We’ve got some big games this weekend.”
The Prairie City girls and boys teams planned to travel to the Friday-Saturday Les Schwab Shootout at the Pendleton Convention Center, past the Eagle’s early deadline. They were scheduled to face Weston-McEwen and Enterprise.
Prairie City hosts Powder Valley on Wednesday, Jan. 2, with the girls game starting at 5:30 p.m. followed by the boys at 7 p.m.