Panthers’ strong finish equals win over Cavs

KINGSTON — Several of Jacob Gonzales’s baskets proved more flamboyant than his hair Tuesday afternoon — and that’s a tall order. The shaggy-maned Gonzales scored a number of jump shots and twisting layups on his way to a 32-point performance for the Poulsbo Panthers.

KINGSTON — Several of Jacob Gonzales’s baskets proved more flamboyant than his hair Tuesday afternoon — and that’s a tall order.

The shaggy-maned Gonzales scored a number of jump shots and twisting layups on his way to a 32-point performance for the Poulsbo Panthers.

That performance, along with a 25-point third quarter for PJH, helped propel the Panthers to a 68-60 victory over the rival Kingston Cavaliers in the two teams’ first meeting of the season.

“Sometimes when you get hot, you can throw up anything, no matter how it looks, and it’ll go in,” head coach Clary Carlsen said of Gonzales after the game. “And that’s fine.”

Carlsen’s Panthers came into the game undefeated at 2-0 , as did the Cavaliers. And while the Panthers managed to survive a 10-point first half by Cavs’ top scorer Jared Prince, they still went into halftime down by two points, 29-27.

But in the third quarter the Panthers came out firing and hitting. They grabbed an early quarter lead then built it higher and higher., first to 35-29, then to 46-37. Twisting layups by Gonzales and Travis Tobin went in, as did many inside baskets by the Panthers. When Tobin buried a pair of free throws towards the end of the quarter, the Panthers held a 52-37 lead.

While Tony Chisholm’s Cavaliers had not shot well, they managed to pull themselves back into the game.

Prince drove along the baseline and muscled up a layup; teammate Jordan Henry buried a three; and the Cavs closed the lead to 10, 52-42, as the third quarter ended.

In front of the filled, buzzing bleachers at KJH, the teams continued to battle in the fourth. Gonzales hit a driving scoop to stretch the lead to 14; Prince answered with a strong layup; Gonzales drove and laid the ball up and in, and Prince again answered with a drive, then another inside basket to close the lead to 10.

But the Panthers kept the ball, milked the clock, and escaped with an eight-point win.

“Today was a game of spurts,” Carlsen said. “We’d do a few things correctly, and then we’d get excited and forget what we were doing.”

Carlsen was complimentary towards Kingston’s Prince, who scored 28: “He had a heck of a game. He’s tough to stop,” Carlsen said.

Chisholm, whose Cavaliers dropped to 2-1 after the loss, said, “We didn’t shoot well. We had great looks and passed the ball around — but we didn’t shoot well. And Poulsbo outrebounded us. They had more second-half opportunities than I would have liked.”

The Panthers were led by Gonzales’s 32 points, and also got 16 from Travis Tobin and 13 from Ryan Young.

The Cavs were paced by Prince’s 28. Jordan Henry’s long-range gunning equalled 16 points, and Kevin Gartin chipped in with 5.

The two teams will meet again Jan. 17 at Poulsbo Junior High.

The game will begin at 3 p.m.

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