The Potomac Panthers are known for their powerful junior class and sophomore guard Kyle Honore. But let’s not forget they have a few seniors that can play, also.
Manny White reminded us of that Tuesday night. The senior guard scored a game-high 15 points and went nine of ten from the free throw line, as host Potomac won the Cardinal District Tournament Championship, 51-48 over Forest Park.
With the game tied at 48, White accounted for his team’s last three points, all at the charity stripe. He was fouled on a drive to the rim with 42.7 seconds left and calmly sank two free throws to put Potomac up two. After a Forest Park long-range miss, White was fouled and did miss his first free throw of the night, but hit one to make it 51-48. Another Forest Park three-pointer fell awry, and the Panthers were district champs.
White’s performance late was especially impressive considering earlier in the quarter he hit the deck hard and had to exit the ballgame. He wasn’t about to sit helplessly and watch his team down the stretch, however.
“We talked to Manny early on and told him how important senior leadership is,” Potomac coach Keith Honore said after the game. “You saw that senior leadership come through right there. This is his last year and you saw that pride come through where he wasn’t going to sit the last two minutes of the district championship game.”
That was a good thing for the Panthers. Potomac led most of the game, but after leading by ten at halftime and eight after three quarters, Forest Park was finally able to make a run. Panthers junior big man Tyrell Harris was in foul trouble the whole game, and Forest Park senior guard Kevin Johnson was able to exploit that in the second half, driving into the interior of the Potomac defense and doing damage.
Johnson and junior Evan Reed accounted for 20 second half Forest Park points, and Johnson’s two free throws with 2:07 left after getting fouled on an offensive rebound gave the Bruins their first tie game since the first quarter. Then Potomac’s defense, which fouled too much and was not in top form in the second half, still managed to get it done.
“We need to guard a little better,” Coach Honore said. “I didn’t think this was our best defensive game, even though we held them under 50 points–still, we’re better than that. It’s a championship game and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Hats off to Forest Park for one heckuva fight.”
Johnson finished with 14 points and Reed 10 for Forest Park (14-11), which will still play in the Region 6B Tournament on Friday. Senior center Kyle Bond had a dominant first quarter with seven points and seven boards, but could not keep that dominance going later.
Kyle Honore delivered 14 points off four big threes for the Panthers (20-3), who will be one of the top seeds in the 6B Tourney. The Potomac bench was key, with all four guys who didn’t start contributing points.
“I thought our bench contribution was really big,” Coach Honore said. “Tyrell stayed in foul trouble the entire game; that’s 17 points a game we got sitting on the bench. I thought our guys came in the game and gave us some really big minutes.”
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Honore 4-5, Satchell 1-4, Harris 0-1, White 0-2|
|Threes: Reed 1-4, Smith 1-8, Johnson 0-2, Clark 0-4|