HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: Permian’s season ends in loss to El Paso Eastwood

The Permian boys basketball team managed a late comeback in regulation to force overtime against El Paso Eastwood.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough as the Troopers ended the Panthers’ season with a 49-43 win in the bi-district round of the playoffs Tuesday at Permian Fieldhouse.

Permian erased a six-point deficit with under two minutes in regulation, capped by Isaac Chavez’s free throws to send the game into overtime.

However, the Troopers (24-10) would go on to win and advance to the area round of the playoffs where they’ll face North Crowley with the date and time to be announced.

“Wow, first and foremost, Permian has a great team,” said El Paso Eastwood head coach Peter Morales. “Coach (Steven) Flores does a great job with his team. We knew it was going to be a battle coming into this game. It was a tough environment but I thought our kids battled and hung in there throughout the tough times.”

Permian’s season ended at 23-10.

Devin Falk-Ramirez led the Troopers in scoring with 22 points while Marcus Bennett and Mark Hernandez each had eight points.

The Panthers were led by Jamibrione Anderson’s 15 points while Ben Saldivar had nine and Ryale Moses finished with eight.

“It’s a tough loss,” Permian head coach Steven Flores said. “Those guys are fundamentally sound and they handled our pressure well. Our kids battled back and forced overtime. At the end of the day, we missed a lot of shots that we usually make. We missed layup opportunities. We have to tip our hats to them and their coaching staff because they did a great job.”

Eastwood led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

The Panthers were held in check for the first couple of minutes of the second quarter as the Troopers stayed in front.

An inside shot by Ben Saldivar brought the Panthers to a 14-11 deficit with 5:08 left in the quarter.

A transition basket by Isaac Chavez made it a one-point game soon after.

The Panthers soon found themselves ahead with plenty of momentum.

A 3-pointer by J’sia McCowen gave the Panthers a 20-16 advantage with 1:55 left.

Eastwood answered back with an inside basket before the end of the half and the Panthers had a 20-18 lead at the break.

Both teams traded baskets at the start of the third quarter and soon the Troopers had a 27-24 lead with 5:26 remaining.

Free throws by Anderson brought the Panthers to a 29-27 deficit with 1:22 left.

Eastwood burned time off the clock by controlling possession throughout the quarter and the Panthers were down 31-27 heading into the fourth quarter after a turnaround jumper by Devin Falk-Ramirez gave the Troopers a four-point lead.

Eastwood continued to sink baskets early in the fourth quarter but the Panthers kept things close.

A jumper by Falk-Ramirez gave the visitors a 35-31 lead with 4:12 remaining.

The Troopers continued to burn the clock on offense and limiting Permian’s chances.

A steal by Eastwood with 1:52 left saw them control more of the game with a 37-31 lead.

The Panthers soon had no choice but to foul.

Devin Falk-Ramirez was sent to the line with 1:08 remaining where he missed both shots and the game remained a six-point gap.

Saldivar’s 3-pointer brought the Panthers to a 37-34 deficit with 59 seconds left.

The Troopers managed to burn 20 seconds off the clock before finally drawing a foul as Edward Avila was sent to the line with 39 seconds to go but missed both shots and Permian remained alive.

Saldivar was fouled outside the perimeter while taking a shot and sent to the line.

He missed the first shot before making the next two and the Troopers’ lead was cut to 37-36 with 19.88 seconds.

Missed free throws continued to hurt Eastwood as Marcus Bennett went 1-of-2 and the lead was only two points with 14 seconds.

The Panthers struggled to get the game-tying bucket in the closing seconds but they drew a foul as Chavez was sent to the line with 2.32 seconds left.

He made the first shot to make it a one-point game and a timeout was taken by Permian.

His second shot sent to the game into overtime.

Both teams traded baskets early in overtime and the score was tied at 40.

Saldivar’s inside jumper was no good and the Troopers rebounded with two minutes left.

Devin Falk-Ramirez drove to the basket on the other end and Saldivar soon picked up his fifth personal foul.

Devin Falk-Ramirez got the and-one for a three-point advantage.

A missed Permian basket saw the Troopers get the defensive rebound and the Panthers once again had to foul with 39 seconds left.

This time, the Troopers managed to make the free throws as Falk-Ramirez scored two shots from the line to give Eastwood a 45-40 lead.

“This has been one of those teams where we’ve persevered through the tough times,” Morales said. “I guess they wanted to give their coaches another heart attack of going into overtime. But we don’t know what’s going through their minds when shooting the free throw but at the end of the day, we were given another opportunity and we took advantage.”

Free throws by McCowen brought the Panthers to a three-point deficit soon after.

Julien Falk-Ramirez made two free throws for a 47-42 lead with 23 seconds left.

The Panthers were unable to make another late run.