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Sports : School : Alberton Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2006 - 21:12:05

Panthers plank Pirates
By Mark Hebert - Clark Fork Chronicle
Dec 29, 2005, 23:04

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Alberton fired off two more wins before the New Year – downing Philipsburg 37-35 two Tuesdays ago and Victor last Thursday, 53-44 – and sits alone atop District 13/14-C with a record of 6-0, the only undefeated team in the league.

Two seasons ago the Panthers ran through the regular season with a record of 17-0. Head coach Chris Clevenger said he’s not sure if this year’s team is that good, but added that the last three games, all in conference, were pretty tough, but all victories.

“I was real happy to be able to win those games,” said head coach Chris Clevenger. “Two of the games were on the road. We have pretty good balance this season. We don’t really have a superstar, but I can play eight kids that are all pretty equal.”

The Panthers almost met their match on December 20, however, as the Prospectors of Granite County traveled to Alberton for the Panthers’ home debut. Trailing 17-10 at intermission, the Prospectors struck gold in the third quarter, outscoring the Panthers 14-8 to narrow their deficit to 25-24. Coach Clevenger said that Philipsburg has solid guard play and that they run a ball-control offense.

“You can’t really speed their guards up and they don’t turn the ball over,” he said. “That was a good game for us to pull out. We missed some easy shots that we should have made, but when it came down to crunch time we were able to do the things in the fourth quarter to win the game.”

Alberton made enough shots in the final frame to outscore P-burg 12-11 to push the Panthers to the 37-35 victory. Geoff Dehne led the Panthers in scoring with 10 points, Brandon Kohlwes chipped in nine, Cody Nagy and Kort Graf each notched seven, and Gary Shinn and Matt Vicek each logged two.

On Thursday the Panthers played the final game of 2005 as they traveled to Victor to face the Pirates. Nagy, who scored a season-high 17 points in the game, knocked down 6-of-6 free throws and Alberton erased a 13-12 deficit after the first quarter by putting 17 on the scoreboard in the second quarter –limiting the Pirates to only six – en route to the 53-44 victory.

Dehne scored a season-high 11 points in the victory while Graf scored 12, Kohlwes scored nine and Vicek notched four. Coach Clevenger said that though Nagy and Graf are the teams leading scorers, 12.6 and 10 points per game respectively, he added that this year’s team is deep and can run eight different players in and get solid results.

“We are solid at every position and that makes us hard to guard,” said Clevenger.

Kohlwes is averaging 9.8 ppg, followed by Dehne’s 9.1 ppg and Patrick O’Rourke and Gary Shinn averaging around three a game leads to Clevenger’s point, leading to the 53-points per contest that the Panthers are averaging. Couple those numbers with the fact that Alberton’s stingy defense is only allowing 37 points per contest and 6-0 mark on the season makes sense.

The Panthers start the second half of the season against Hot Springs at home on January 5th followed by another home tilt against conference foe Charlo, second place in 13/14-C with a 4-2 mark, on Saturday.

© Copyright 2005 by MCIC

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