By Eleanor Guinan
The Navajo Indians we had been seeing lately were unstoppable. They were expected to be the same unstoppable team. It’s unknown if it was because Latta Panthers are a tough team, or if it was just an “off” day for the Indians but something was not the same for them.
The game was starting out very smooth for the boys. When Latta scored, Navajo also scored. Junior Kolten Hurst even had a nice tip-in to put Navajo on the board. Senior Tristan Netherton was helping evening out the score when he stole the ball and got two points and reflecting the ball to give it back to Navajo. Although they were behind, they were catching up and getting close when the first period ended 19-14 Panthers.
It was all sophomore Airen Josefy in this period, trying to get keep close to Latta. He started off the second giving two more points to Navajo, then he said no to a Latta player trying to show off a dunk. Shortly after that he stole the ball to get two more points via free throws for Navajo. Then, with only a few minutes to go in the second, the Latta Panthers showed them why they are ranked second in class 2A. Our boys couldn’t pick up what they lacked in the end of the second trailing 22-33 at the end of the second.
This third period was hard to watch, not going to lie. Everything was against them. They were fatigued, they were going against a 22-5 team, and nothing could get into the basket, literally. They kept trying to bounce back but Latta was pushing them away. Their defense had died and not coming back to life. The final score of that period was 56-22 Latta Panthers.
By the time the fourth period has begun, the Panthers had already won the game. Remember, they are second in the 2A class and 22-5, that is a hard team to beat. They were trying everything to not let Latta score. Junior Lincoln Muller even jumped up to block a shot but ended up landing on his back but he ended up walking to the bench. After that scare, junior Dallas Cox put two in the basket for the first points since the second period, which shows you that how good Latta’s defense was this game. Within the last minutes of the game, coach Kyle Miller switched out his starters for senior Itay Kagan, sophomore Shawn Beach, and freshman Kaleb Gonzalez, Kelby Shumaker, and Tucker Lambert. Lambert was the last one to score in the game, shooting a two pointer with seconds to go.
This isn’t the end for the boys, they have a chance to redeem themselves Saturday February 24th in Amber Pocasset against the team Amber Pocasset in the consolation bracket. They will try their hardest and fight until the end.