HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Permian tops OHS in district opener

The Permian boys basketball team used a strong first quarter to help set the tone and then used a strong second half performance to take a 77-52 win over crosstown rival Odessa High in the District 2-6A opener for both teams Tuesday at OHS Fieldhouse.
The Panthers (8-3 overall, 1-0 in district) were led by Race Herr with 23 points, while Shy Stephens-Deary had 20 and Zay Pierce had 14.
“With everything going on like COVID-19 and cancellations, our guys have done a good job of making adjustments and that’s what it’s about. I think it’s a credit to our guys. They adjusted and kept going tonight. We’ve hit a few bumps on the road here but we’ve persevered and now we’re moving forward.”
Odessa High (7-3, 0-1) was led by LJ Willis, who had 17 points. Christian Tijerina had 14 and Coco Rose finished with eight.
The Panthers began the night on a promising note, going on an 11-0 run early in the first quarter.
It wasn’t until the 4:34 mark when the Bronchos could finally get on the board, courtesy of a free throw by Tijerina.
A basket by Stephens-Deary made it 13-1 shortly after. Pierce scored from 3-point land and Tremayne Baty added a field goal for a 16-2 lead.
Tijerina scored Odessa High’s first field goal before the buzzer as the Bronchos trailed 18-4 at the end of the first quarter.
The Bronchos came out much stronger in the second quarter, going on an 8-3 run to come within 10 points of Permian as the Panthers then called a timeout.
A put-back by Tijerina brought the Bronchos to a 23-16 deficit with 3:28 left. Willis added a free throw to make it a two-possession game soon after.
Foul trouble continued to haunt Permian as Caleb Ramirez made two free throws and Odessa High cut Permian’s lead to 23-19 with 2:30 left in the half.
Rose added two free throws soon after and the Bronchos were at a two-point deficit.
The Panthers led 27-25 at the half.
“We came out a little shaky and it took us about two minutes to settle in,” Odessa High coach Neal Welch said. “After that, we started playing better. We started getting shots up and Permian has really good pressure. They’re bigger than us, longer than us and faster than us. We have to play smart and strong and that’s what we did in the second quarter.”
Permian began the third quarter similar to how it started the first, using an 8-0 run to take a 10-point lead. The surge was capped by a field goal from Herr.
Willis’ 3-pointer from the left side narrowed the Panthers’ lead to six right before Baty responded with an outside shot of his own on the other end of the floor for a 41-32 advantage.
Stephens-Deary hit a 3-pointer and added a layup to help Permian close out the quarter with a 52-34 lead.
The Panthers continued to remain in control of the game, beginning the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run.
A basket by Herr made it 72-49 with 2:31 remaining and the Panthers were not to be denied their first district win.