San Jac take championship; Ponies prepare for nationals
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Jacksonville, Texas- One night after the Panola College men’s basketball team clinched a berth in the national tournament and notched their 25th win, most in school history, they were defeated in the conference championship game by San Jacinto, 92-67. “San Jac is so special offensively and it just seemed like we couldn’t get anything to bounce our way. The effort was there,” said Adam Blaylock, assistant coach. “The best part about tonight is that we get to look ourselves in the mirror and clean some things up for the national tournament.”
In a fast paced start both teams traded buckets when the Ponies found themselves up 10-8 just under the 17:00 minute mark. With 9:04 remaining in the fourth, Panola was down 25-22 when San Jac went on an 8-0 run. Panola answered and found themselves down 47-37 at halftime. San Jac maintained much of their double-digit lead most of the second half. A Devyn Wilson three with 6:12 remaining cut the lead to 80-66 but Panola could not get any closer.
Leading the way offensively for Panola was Eric McGill who scored 20 points and chased down five rebounds. Tope Arikawe recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. As a team, Panola struggled from the field only shooting 35 percent for the game.
The tournament bracket for the NJCAA National Tournament will be released at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, March 13. The tournament will take place at the Sports Arena on the campus of Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas.
See all photos by Pony Express Photographer Lexie Dawson at the Panola College vs San Jacinto Championship Game Photo Gallery.