The Permian Panthers saw a chance to remain atop the District 2-6A boys basketball standings slip away in the final minutes Friday as Amarillo Tascosa rallied for a 56-52 victory at Permian Fieldhouse.
In a game that saw 10 lead changes and five ties, Tascosa’s Elijah Rodriguez hit a pair of free throws with 45.8 seconds remaining to put the Rebels in front for good.
Tascosa outscored Permian 9-0 over the final 1:50, making 6 of 8 free throws in the last 1:01.
“It was one of those games that comes down to the kids,” Permian coach Tim Thomas said. “In these games, we have to hope that they’re prepared and it just comes down to players making plays down the stretch. Whether it’s getting a steal or making a great assist or a jump shot or making free throws.
“I thought they were prepared. We just didn’t make enough plays down the stretch.”
Tascosa (17-7 overall, 4-1 district) moved into sole possession of first place in the 2-6A standings, while Permian (18-7, 3-2) slipped into a three-way tie for second place with Wolfforth Frenship and Midland High as the district schedule reached the halfway point.
Genuwine Powell, who scored a game-high 20 points for Permian, fouled out with 2:04 remaining. The Panthers scored just two points the rest of the way.
Shy Stephens-Deary added 16 points for the Panthers.
Donnie Sutton led Tascosa with 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Rodriguez, who made 8 of 10 free throws, finished with 13 points with Tae Gilbreath scoring 10.
“We just had to come in and play,” Tascosa coach Steve Jackson said. “We knew Permian has a great team. Coach Thomas does a great job with them. We knew it was going to a defensive struggle and that we had to come out and execute, be poised.
“It’s a great environment to play basketball in and they do such a great job. We just knew we had to play well. I felt our guys fought and they handled adversity well and we were able to get away with a win.”
Tascosa made 20-of-29 free throws, going 8-of-13 at the line in the fourth quarter. Permian was 14 of 22 at the line, 3-of-6 in the fourth quarter.
Permian led 21-20 at halftime as neither team led by more than three points in the first half. Tascosa opened the third quarter with a 10-2 run, taking its largest lead at 30-23, but the Panthers responded with a 14-3 run.
Stephens-Deary converted a three-point opportunity with 1:46 left in the quarter to put Permian ahead 34-33.
The Panthers took their largest lead at 46-40 when Powell converted a three-point play with 4:54 to go, but the Rebels scored the next seven points to go in front at 47-46 on a 3-pointer by Sutton with 2:57 remaining.
Baskets by J.J. Vizcaino and Powell put Permian back ahead and the Panthers took a 52-47 lead on two free throws by Jonathan Anaya with 1:51 left.