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BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Panthers advance to regional quarterfinals - Odessa American: Sports

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BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Panthers advance to regional quarterfinals

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Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2019 12:05 am

ABILENE The Permian boys basketball team played the bulk of this season without the services of leading scorers Genuwine Powell and Nakavieon White.

Why not play the most important 88 seconds of the season without them as well?

The Panthers held on to defeat Arlington Martin 48-45 on Friday night in a Class 6A area playoff at Cougar Gym despite losing Powell and White to fouls. Powell fouled out with 3:54 remaining and Permian leading 38-34. White picked up his fifth foul with 1:28 to go and the Panthers up 44-39.

Jonathan Anaya made two free throws with 9.6 seconds remaining and Keyonta Johnson intercepted Martin's last-gasp inbounds pass with 1.3 seconds left to seal the outcome.

"It was tough at first," Anaya said, "but I knew the team we had in. I had faith."

Permian coach Tim Thomas said it was a position the team has found itself in before with moderate success.

"This group battled throughout 12 games without both of them and we went 7-5," Thomas said. "Three of those five losses were tough, close, so they've been through some rigor and some battles. It paid off for us tonight."

Permian was able to survive with its free throw shooting. The Panthers were 12 of 17 at the line for the game and 9 of 12 in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Martin was 7 of 16 at the line and 3 of 8 in the fourth quarter.

The victory sends Permian (26-7) into the regional quarterfinals for the second season in a row. The Panthers will play District 1-6A champion El Paso Americas, which advanced with a 61-51 victory over Hurst Bell, at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Sul Ross State's Gallego Center in Alpine.

White finished with 12 points to lead the Panthers, while Shy Stephens-Deary added nine points. Anaya and Powell each scored eight points and Johnson finished with seven.

White said the Panthers showed they are more than just a two-man team.

"With me and (Powell) out, everyone had to step up," White said. "It was their time.

"We just had to play our game. We've worked really hard for this and we know what to do — play defense and play as a team."

Martin (21-11) was led by Montrel Pena with 17 points, while Trey Glenn had eight points and Karhan Jones had seven.

Permian grabbed an early seven-point lead before Martin went on a 10-0 run and led 14-11 at the end of the first quarter. The Warriors maintained the lead through much of the second quarter, which saw Permian briefly go back in front at 15-14 on a basket by Stephens-Deary early in the period.

Martin took its largest lead early in the third quarter at 27-20 on a 3-pointer by Pena. And matched the margin later in the period on a basket by Jones before Permian regained control. The Panthers went on a 10-0 run, holding Martin scoreless for more than six minutes and without a field goal for nearly eight. Johnson's layup with 5:09 to go put Permian in front to stay at 34-33.

White said Permian's defense was the main cause of the turnaround.

"Defense is our main key," he said. "We try to bring as much defense as we can every game. Whenever something's not working, we can fall back on our defense."

Thomas said another factor was holding Martin to 4 of 16 shooting from 3-point range.

"That's a high-powered offense," he said. "I think they lead the state in 3-pointers attempted. They've scored over half their points from the 3-point line.

"Our goal was to stop them from making 3-pointers. We didn't do a great job of it starting out the game. We let (Glenn) get loose for two 3-pointers in transition and (Taj Davis) made a big 3-pointer there at the end. But that's what they do. They shoot 3s and they're really great at it."

Davis scored all of his five points in the final 40 seconds to get Martin within 46-45 with 22 seconds to go, but Permian ran off most of the remaining time before Anaya hit the clinching free throws.

>> Follow Sam Waller on Twitter @OA_Waller

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