Tuesday’s senior night game between Fort Stockton and Monahans was a promising one for the Panthers during their final homestand of the season.
That was the case until the final minute.
Fort Stockton had a lead over the Loboes for over 15 minutes of the 16-minute second half and at one point, held a 48-40 advantage with 5:30 left in the fourth quarter their biggest lead of the game.
With under a minute to play, Fort Stockton opened the door for Monahans to get back in it and the Loboes took advantage. The Panthers missed seven free throws in the final minute of play and with two seconds remaining on the clock, junior guard Jamarcus Pickens made a 3-pointer via a bank shot to give his team a 56-55 win.
“We just didn’t make free throws at the end, that’s what cost us the game,” Fort Stockton head coach Jimmy Martinez said. “We played hard, played good. We’re getting better, we just didn’t make free throws!’
Fort Stockton held a 22-20 lead at halftime and the teams kept the game competitive throughout its entirety. The advantage for either team never grew greater than three points for the final three minutes of the game.
Martinez believed Tuesday’s game, outside of a tough ending for his team, exemplifies their unity and how they have grown as a team as the season has progressed.
“I think they’re starting to gel together now. Believe in each other. Play relaxed. We just have to continue to play that way from the very beginning of the season so that we’re not in this position!” he said.
Dominic Aguilar was once again the team’s leading scorer for the night, finishing with 20 points. Christian Mireles also had back-to-back double digit scoring games, finishing with 16. The Panthers will be on the road this Friday to play Seminole for their final game of the season.
The Panthers enter the game with a 3-20 record and an 1-8 record against district competition.
PANTHERS BREAK 17-GAME LOSING STREAK
It was a complete team effort.
Arguably the best of the season in Friday’s away game at Pecos for the Fort Stockton boys basketball team.
Four Panthers reached double-digit point totals and the result was a victory 69-44 victory - Fort Stockton’s first win since Dec. 8.
“The Panthers played well for a full four quarters, and were able to win every single one, helping capture their first district win of the season,” Fort Stockton coach Hunter Grice said.
Fort Stockton broke a 17-game losing streak with the win.
The Panthers were led by junior Dominic Aguilar who got to the free throw line early and often, scoring 14 of his game-high 18 points at the charity stripe.
Christian Mireles had a season-high point total in the contest, finishing with 17, all coming in the second half of play.
Cruz Rojas netted 15 points thanks to three 3-pointers in the first half.
“Rojas and Aguilar both did a good job cleaning up off the glass, as well,” Grice said.
Caleb Garcia was the final player in double digits, finishing with 11.
“Garcia played an impressive game on defense, as well,” he added.
The Panthers record improved to 3-19 with the win and 1-7 in district play.