With one freshman, three sophomores, and one senior starting, the Panthers simply couldn’t handle the press by the senior-laden Kings, and the errors prevented Pioneers from being able to establish any rhythm offensively. In the first half, the Panthers had more turnovers (15) than shot attempts (14).
In addition to solid play from its starters, Cass continued to receive solid minutes from its bench. Martin, in particular, scorched the nets, nailing 5 of 7 shots from the floor including 2 of 3 from 3-point land.
“We’ve been getting solid play [from the bench] all year,” said Kitchel. “We’ve got nine varsity guys and then we kind of save the last couple of spots for some JV players who have earned time.
“You’ve got Jake Martin who comes off [the bench] and knocks it down. He’s been doing that all year. Destin Irwin gives us solid minutes, [Drew] McRae comes in there and really bangs, and then Evan Ohman, who, when we put him in there, we don’t miss a beat. We’ve got nine guys that are kind of interchangeable, and I’ve got complete confidence in all nine of them. If we get in a situation in a game, I don’t hesitate on putting any of them in.”
Even JV player Josh Rankert had a great night for the Kings, scoring seven points in the fourth quarter on 3-for-3 shooting, including one triple.
For Pioneer, sophomore Sam Kiser led the way with nine points.