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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Permian set for rematch in regional semifinals - Odessa American: Sports

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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Permian set for rematch in regional semifinals

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Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2019 7:52 pm

The Permian boys basketball team has been here before.

This time, it’s looking for a different outcome.

The Panthers (27-7) take on No. 2 Denton Guyer (32-4) in the semifinals of the Region I-6A boys basketball tournament at 8 tonight at Fort Worth’s Wilkerson-Greines Activity Center. A year ago, the Wildcats ended the Panthers’ playoff run with a 58-48 victory.

Permian coach Tim Thomas said the Panthers have to continue to do the things that got the team this far, only better.

“We’ve got to zero in and focus on us, and we’ve got to focus on what our opponents do better,” Thomas said. “We’ve got to take care of us and be prepared through scouting for our opponent.

“We’ve got to go into the ballgame ready, and it’s a big game because it’s the next game. We’re going to come up with a game plan and the kids are going to go out and execute that game plan. The goal, of course, is to win, and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

While the matchup is the same, Permian brings a different team into this year’s meeting with Guyer.

Senior guard Jonathan Anaya and junior post Nakavieon White are the only returning players from last year’s regional qualifier. The Panthers have been boosted by the return of senior guard and leading scorer Genuwine Powell, who did not play last season.

“It took a lot of work,” Anaya said of getting back to the regional tourney. “We’ve got to go down there and really focus and get it done.”

White, who missed 22 games during the regular season, said the Panthers know what they’re facing in Guyer.

“We just have to do the same thing,” he said. “Our defense, our heart, we’ve just got to keep going. We’ve got to get in the gym and focus and do what we need to do.”

Among the newcomers on the Permian roster is sophomore guard Shy Stephens-Deary, who said the team’s younger players can’t afford to be overwhelmed by the regional environment.

“We’ve got to work hard, go down there and fight and just don’t be scared,” he said.

In the other regional semifinal, No. 1 Duncanville (28-7) takes on Euless Trinity (22-10) at 6 p.m. The championship game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday with the winner advancing to the state tournament next weekend at San Antonio’s Alamodome.

While all four regional qualifiers won their respective district championships, Permian and Trinity, which upset third-ranked North Crowley in the regional quarterfinals, are considered heavy underdogs. But Thomas said the Panthers have shown they’re worthy of inclusion in the field.

“Just by virtue of getting there,” he said. “All the teams that are playing there are really good teams. Our guys have proven that we’re a really good team.

“We’ve just got to prepare and come out and play tough, play our brand of basketball, Mojo brand basketball, and be who we are. And that’s what we’ll do.”

White said the key for the Panthers will be to limit turnovers, which were critical in last year’s meeting with Guyer.

“We turned it over a lot last year out of just panicking and stuff,” he said. “But this year, I feel like we’re going to be better.”

Anaya said Permian’s last two games — a 48-45 victory against Arlington Martin in the area round and a 39-33 decision El Paso Americas in the regional quarterfinals — have shown the Panthers what it takes to be successful in the postseason.

“Every play counts,” Anaya said. “We’ve got to execute every play and take it game by game.

“It’s going to take a lot to win. We’re going to have to really push and focus.”

Guyer, which lost to eventual state champion Allen in last year’s regional final, is led by the returning trio of 6-foot-2 guard De’Vion Harmon, 6-foot-8 forward Jalen Wilson and 6-foot-7 forward JaKobe Wilson.

Harmon and Wilson were all-state picks last year and have signed with Division I programs, Harmon with Oklahoma and Wilson with Michigan. Coles, a junior, already has a number of Division I offers.

“They’ve got a really talented team and a really great program,” Thomas said of the Wildcats. “They do really well. They play a high-octane offense, so we’ve got to come in and play our best.”

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