You wouldn’t think the game after your rivalry game would be a more emotionally charged game than the actual rivalry game, but that’s what the Porterville High boys basketball team found itself in the middle of Friday night when they took on Mt. Whitney to start the second half of East Yosemite League play at Sharman Gym. The Panthers overcame a sluggish start and didn't put together their best performance on the offensive end, but their defense stepped up as the Panthers avenged an earlier loss to the Pioneers, winning in double overtime 56-49.


The Panthers got off to a sluggish start, not scoring their first bucket until the 4:57 mark when Andrew Moody made a driving layup to tie things up at two. A Cooper Fish layup and an Erik Odsather trifecta gave the Panthers an early 7-4 advantage. After a quick 4-0 run by the Pioneers put them back up 8-7 Jake Krotil buried an elbow jumper at the buzzer to give the Panthers a 9-8 first quarter advantage.


Mt. Whitney got back to back scores to go back up 12-9 early in the second as the Panther offense continued to struggle with the Pioneers 2-3 zone.  They didn’t get their first points of the second quarter until the 4:30 mark when Breken Ramage hit one from deep to tie things at 12. Mt. Whitney outscored the Panthers 8-5 the rest of the quarter to take a 20-17 halftime advantage.


Things started to heat up in the 2nd half, after Israel Briggs opened the quarter with a layup to push the lead to five, Sebastian Mascorro buried a three pointer to make it 22-20. Jayden Dillinhunt and Moody exchanged three point baskets to keep the deficit at two, but then the Pioneers Dominic Pineda got a triple of his own to give Whitney a 28-23 lead at the 3:45 mark of the 3rd. From there PHS outscored the Pioneers 8-2, getting a three point shot from Brayden Della as time expired in the third quarter, giving the Panthers a 31-30 lead after 3.


Whitney quickly recaptured the lad as Briggs scored to open the fourth quarter. The trams exchanged blows, as there were 4 lead changes in the first 3 minutes of the fourth quarter. Fish got a layup and Moody scored on three point play to give PHS a 36-34 lead. Whitney’s Josiah Simmons tied it at 36 with a mid range jumper only to see Jace Balangue give PHS the lead back with a driving layup. Briggs and Pineda got back to back buckets to give the Pioneers a 40-38 advantage, only to see Odsather tie things up at the 1:55 mark with a lay in.


A questionable foul call was then called on Odsather, and the Panthers lost their composure and picked up a technical foul.  Ray Corona buried the two foul shots and then Dillinhunt made the two technical shots to put Whitney up 44-40 and because of the technical foul the Pioneers kept possession of the ball.  

The Panthers dug deep defensively, after getting a stop Della hit two clutch free throws to cut the deficit to two. After another Panther stop Della drove and found a cutting Fish who converted on a reverse layup to tie things at 44 with 18 seconds left. The Panther D once again came up clutch, forcing an out of control shot by Pineda at the buzzer to send things into OT.


The Panthers missed their chances in the first OT.  Odsather scored and had a chance at a three point play but missed the free throw. The Panthers got a stop and then Della had a shot to increase the lead but missed both free throws in a double bonus situation. Dillinhunt then hit a running layup with 11 seconds left to tie things at 46. The Panthers Moody missed on a last second attempt to send the game into double OT.


With the game tied at 48 in the 2nd OT Fish knocked down a three point jumper at the 1:51 mark  to give PHS the lead they did not relinquish. Corona converted 1 of 2 free throws to make it 51-49, but then Cam Haynes hit two clutch free throws to build the lead to four. Moody and Della added free throws to seal the win at 56-49.


With this Panther win and a Redwood loss to El Diamante that creates a logjam at the top of the EYL standings, with PHS, El Diamante and Redwood all sitting at the top with a 4-2 record. Fish led PHS with 12 points while Odsather had 11 and Moody 9.


“Wasn’t our best effort, but it was enough to get us a win tonight,” said an exhausted PHS coach Lance Wallace. The Panthers will host Redwood on Tuesday in a key EYL game.

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