BROOKLYN, NY - With only four players, the Panthers were forced to acquire outside help, literally.
With two games left to play, the perennial power needed to win two games in order to hopefully secure a top spot in the iS8/Nike Tip-Off Classic playoffs.
"[A lot of] our players didn't get back from Midnight madness," said Nate Cadogan who helps run the team. "We had to get a guy from outside," said Cadogan.
The Panthers have one of the most stacked teams in the tournament but on Sunday at the Nazereth HS site, the 2-0 team was without its major star power; Mike Young, Tyler Ennis, Isaiah Briscoe, Joshua Wilcom, Zach Brown and Dustin Perovic
In their first game, the Panthers would take down Team Price, 76-68 but would then have to play another team, late in the afternoon.
With only four core players, head coach Paul Ruddock would instruct his squad to play a very controlled game, which conserved their energy. He also kept his players well hydrated.
At the half, the Panthers led Team Exel, 32-26 as Tyreek Phillips and Mical Boyd (L.I. Lutheran) combined for 23 points.
In the third quarter, Team Exel would begin to cut into the Panthers lead as exhaustion began to set in. Luckily for the Panthers, their opponent was also shorthanded, having only 6 players total.
A strong showing by PG Temple Gibbs along with Boyd would be enough secure a 65-59 win along with a 4-0 record. The win is a testament to their depth. The undefeated record affords the Panthers a bye in the first round of the playoffs.
Boyd led the Panthers with 23 points with Gibbs and Philips adding 18 points and 13 points respectively. Justin Gallant was high man for Team Exel with 19 points while Sallo Fofana contributed 12 points.