In their final contest of the regular season on Friday evening, the Eastbrook Panthers, despite another sound effort, could not slow down the South Adam Starfires, falling on senior night by a score of 74-60.
While recording one of their highest offensive outputs of the season, Eastbrook’s defense struggled to get stops, particularly in the first half. The Starfires scored 43 points in the first half to build a 14-point advantage, and held that double-digit advantage the rest of the way.
“I think we are playing well. We are shooting the ball well,” Eastbrook Head Coach Greg Allison said. “We weren’t quite 50 percent tonight, but we were really close. Tonight, [the loss] came down to the defensive end of the floor. Giving up 74 points is too many, so that’s obviously going to be a focus next week heading into the tournament.”
While the Panthers only finished the regular season with one win, the improvement they’ve made over the last month of the season has been staggering.
They have found their offense on rhythm on offense. They are discovering their identity on defense. And with the sectional just around the corner, the Panthers are playing some of their best basketball of the season.
“They didn’t back down. They didn’t quit,” Allison said. “They kept fighting, scrapping, and clawing. We aren’t seeing it in terms of wins and losses, but I think if you watch our team, you can obviously tell that we are playing good basketball, and we are better than what we were a couple of weeks ago.”
Alex Baker continued his strong second half of the season, leading the Panthers with 17 points, most of which came in the paint. Braxton Bowser finished with 11 points, while Brody Brodkorb ended the evening with 10 points.
Eastbrook is the only team in Grant County to have a first-round bye, and they will face off against either Sheridan or Tipton in the semifinal round.
But no matter who they play, the Panthers will be ready.
“This is a fun time of year for the kids,” Allison said. “It’s Hoosier Hysteria, it’s March Madness, whatever you want to call it. This is a special time. We are going to work defensively. We have to make sure we are locked in defensively for sure.