BOYS BASKETBALL: Imperfect performance plenty good enough for Permian
Dec 05, 2012 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Keouvion McCalop won the opening tipoff and positioned himself along the baseline to the left of the basket. He stayed there until receiving a pass from Robert Thomas, and then threw down a dunk for the first two points of the game.
There were many other times Tuesday night when the Permian boys basketball team made things look easy in its District 2-5A opener against Abilene Cooper. There also were times when the Panthers took it easy on the visiting Cougars with poor shot selection, turnovers and less-than-attentive defense.
As a result, Cooper rallied from a 20-point deficit to make it a four-point game early in the third quarter. Then Permian finally stopped toying with its opponent and got back to business, pulling away for a 75-54 victory on its home court.
"I think we got a little bit too comfortable," said Thomas, the sophomore point guard who scored a game-high 20 points. "But once we knew the game was close, we made a run for it."
The Panthers (6-3 overall, 1-0 district) were at their best when they forced turnovers or missed shots by the Cougars (2-7, 0-1), which led to easy baskets in transition. Almost all of McCalop's 18 points came on breakaways or feeds to the post by Thomas.
Permian also dominated the glass and got to the free-throw line. Juwan McGee and Jorrion Wilson made a pair of three-point plays en route to scoring 14 and eight points, respectively, and as a team the Panthers were 18-of-22 from the foul line.
Permian also got eight second-half points from Tori Loud, whose 3-pointer awoke the team from its slumber early in the third quarter, and post player Shawn Pierce chipped in six points and some key rebounds off the bench.
"I think we rebounded real well as a team and everybody did what they were supposed to do," McCalop said. "We got a couple blocks, and what I really liked was the defensive trap that we were doing. We played a really aggressive defense."
That defense, which pressured the Cougars in the backcourt and shifted to a zone in the halfcourt, helped the Panthers race out to a 19-4 lead. But Cooper gradually came back behind 12 first-half points from Dante Lowry and a second-half surge by Kenneth Collins, who scored 13 of his team-high 17 points after the break.
But the Cougars, who also got 10 points from Anthony Pierson, couldn't keep up the Panthers over the course of 32 minutes.
"You let them get out and run when you turn the ball over," Cooper coach Marc Case said. "And that's what we did early in the game, which put us behind the 8-ball."
Now the Cougars are behind the 8-ball in the district race, while the Panthers are tied for first place with the other winners Tuesday night. But Permian coach Danny Wright was cautiously encouraged by the win because, for all his team did right, it also showed some tendencies that could be costly later in the season.
Wright said the goal is to play well and with intensity for an entire game, which could be an ongoing process.
"It's the first district ballgame, and we'll take that win," Wright said. "But we've got to get more businesslike."
Contact Adam Zuvanich on twitter @OAzuvanich, on Facebook at OA Adam Zuvanich or call 432-333-7649.
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