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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Kevin LabotkaThe Prairie Home Panthers boys team won its game against La Monte on Jan. 30.

The Prairie Home Panthers boys basketball team was in control from the start during its 67-46 win over the La Monte Vikings Jan. 30. The team is now 11-7 on the year.

The Panthers jumped to an early lead, starting at 4-0 with less than seven minutes to go in the first quarter. A basket by Jason Burnett made it 6-0. The Panthers led 8-0 as the time ticked toward three minutes left in the quarter, and a Panthers three-pointer made it 11-0 with 3:19 on the clock. A three-pointer by Kassen Lock made it a 14-0 game with less than three minutes to go. Clayton Pethan also made a three-pointer to make it a 17-0 game with less than 1:20 in the quarter. La Monte finally got on the board thanks to two free throws to make it a 17-2 game with 42.4 seconds left. The Panthers led 17-4 by the end of the first quarter.

The team tends to start games well on offense, head coach Trever Huth said.

“For us, we always seem to come out hot,” Huth said. “Our defense is what held us up there through the first (quarter). We only allowed four points and we didn’t allow the first points (until) the later minutes of the quarter.”

The Vikings started to make their way back into the game in the second quarter, as they were able to start the quarter with a 4-0 run to make it a 17-8 game with less than six minutes to go before halftime. The Panthers led 19-10 with around four minutes to go, when Burnett made a three-pointer to make it a 22-10 game. With less than four minutes to go, the Panthers led 27-10. Again, the Vikings tried to get back in the game as the team made it a 27-15 game but with less than a minute to go, the Panthers led 34-16. In the final seconds of the first half, the Panthers were up 37-19 and Prairie Home was able to get a foul called following a desperate three-pointer attempt by Oliver Lock, who then sank his two free throws to make it a 39-19 game at halftime.

Huth said the Panthers got a little bit too comfortable with their sizable lead at times.

“We continued to move the ball offensively really well and we got the looks that we wanted to when we were making baskets. It’s just when we do get that lead is not to take a step back defensively or offensively and get too relaxed and let the other team come back into the game,” Huth said.

In the third quarter, the Panthers’ lead only continued to grow as they led 43-19 with less than seven minutes to go in the quarter. The team led by 25 points with less than five minutes to go with the score at 49-24. The gap would grow to 30 points with the score at 58-28 with around a minute to go in the quarter. The third quarter ended with the Panthers leading 58-29.

The team’s defense was an important part of the team’s win, Huth said

“We brought our defense back,” Huth said. “More than what we had, especially in our last game aganist Higbee when we ended up losing that game. There was a span (in the second or third quarter) where we played defense for over a minute and our rotations were great and we picked up the ball. It is things like that that really will make the difference in a game for any team.”

The Panthers were outscored 17-9 in the final quarter, but the game was well under control by then.

The Panthers committed 15 fouls in the game, while La Monte committed only six fouls.

Clayton Pethan led the team with 13 points, followed by Hunter Suffield and Kassen Locks each with 11 points, Jason Burnett with 10 points and Alex Rhode with eight points.

The Panthers made eight three-pointers and shot 5-7 from the free throw line.

The team’s next game is at home at 7:30 p.m Feb. 7 against Chamois.

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