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PANTHERS BREAK FRIARS STREAK

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By Regina Shiroma

Friars' John Baza scores the baseline jumper off a baseline out of bounds play to bring his team within one. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars’ John Baza scores the baseline jumper off a baseline out of bounds play to bring his team within one. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Adrenaline pumped through their veins as pressures mounted. “They had more to lose than us, we weren’t as afraid,” said Panthers’ Austy Hines.

They had nothing to lose and a 6-game winning streak to gain, not to mention the privilege to be known as the team who single-handedly handled the top team in the league. And the Guam High Panthers did just that. In a battle of the winning streaks, the Panthers walked out of the Phoenix center with a well-earned 53-47 win over the FD Friars Saturday night.

“Our problem all year was closing out and for our boys, that was our main goal: to stay focused and when we have a lead, we have to close out. Against an arsenal like FD, I’m just really proud of the boys and what they did because they fought through it. We knew that FD was going to throw the press to get us rattled and they withstood the storm and we made the free throws that mattered, I mean all the free throws matter,” joked Coach Ben Leon Guerrero, “but the crucial ones at the end that really gave us the victory.”

McDonald's player of the game: Panthers' LJ Aguon. 14 points, 5 RB's, 2 assists, 1 steal.

McDonald’s player of the game: Panthers’ LJ Aguon. 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal.

With fifty seconds left in the game, freshman Jason Santos ignited the home crowd dropping a three pointer that brought the Friars within two of the Panthers. However, seconds later, Panthers’ LJ Aguon grabbed a steal and was fouled along the way; Aguon made his free throws and extended the lead 49-44.

“I was just doing what coach told us to do, ‘Play help defense.’ My teammate got beat I helped him out,” said Aguon of the crucial steal.

Though missing most of their free throws throughout the game, the Panthers made it when they needed it the most, as, including Aguon, Nick Clark and Marcus Domingo made their free throws, boosting their lead to six in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

Panthers' Austy Hines attempts the layup with Friars' Christian Chang looking to make the block. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Panthers’ Austy Hines attempts the layup with Friars’ Christian Chang looking to make the block. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

“I’m proud of my team; I can’t ask for anything more. Just play hard and that’s what we did. We came out hot from the beginning to the end and that’s all I ask for, that’s what our coach asks for, and that’s’ what we did,” said an ecstatic Aguon.

In the opening seconds of the game, Aguon and Hines, the leading scorers of the game at 14 points each, landed threes to take the 6-0 lead. And that set the pace for the rest of the game. The Friars would tie the score at 8-8, but would never tie or take the lead for the rest of the game.

“It really has nothing to do with giving them their first loss, its that the momentum is that we beat a good team at a hard-fought battle and our boys now know that we have the ability to compete and it’s a good momentum boost going into the playoffs,” said Coach Leon Guerrero.

Aguon and Hines led all scores with 14 points. Hines grabbed six rebounds. Aguon recorded five rebounds, two assists, and a steal; Aguon’s shots were all threes aside from his two free throws. Teammate Kyle Dougherty tallied eight rebounds and seven points for the night. FD’s Mike Sakazaki led his team with ten points, seven rebounds, and two blocks.

 

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

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Friars' John Baza attempts the high flying layup through the defense of Panthers' Mike Stewart. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars’ John Baza attempts the high flying layup through the defense of Panthers’ Mike Stewart. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Panthers' Austy Hines utilizes a pick from teammate Kyle Dougherty. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Panthers’ Austy Hines utilizes a pick from teammate Kyle Dougherty. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' Nick Aglubat scores the fast break layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars’ Nick Aglubat scores the fast break layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' Michael Sakazaki slashes through the defense to score the easy layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars’ Michael Sakazaki slashes through the defense to score the easy layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars' Nick Aglubat attempts a trey over the defense of Panthers' Marcus Domingo to try and reduce the gap late in the fourth. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Friars’ Nick Aglubat attempts a trey over the defense of Panthers’ Marcus Domingo to try and reduce the gap late in the fourth. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

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