PECOS The Permian Panthers kept their roll going Tuesday, defeating El Paso Coronado 56-38 in a Class 6A bi-district playoff at Pecos High School.
The 16th-ranked Panthers (29-3) never trailed and took the lead for good with a big second quarter to extend their winning streak to 21 games. Permian advanced to the area round of the playoffs for the second season in a row, setting up a meeting against Keller Central at 6 p.m. Friday at Abilene Cooper.
Just getting through the first round took an effort, however, as El Paso Coronado (18-12) kept the Panthers to a slow pace.
“This one was really quite interesting,” Permian coach Tim Thomas said. “We had a lot of things happening. A lot of these kids, it was their first time in the playoffs, but we also have experience. It was Brother Miller’s first (basketball) playoff game.
“I just told them before the game there’s a lot of firsts in life — first time to walk, first time to talk, first time to run, first time to go to high school. You’ve accomplished all that, so you’re going to be great tonight.”
Brother Miller scored 23 points to lead the Panthers with Elijah White adding 11 points. Zach McGee scored nine points off the bench, seeing significant action as Ozzy Terrazas got in early foul trouble. Terrazas scored seven points before fouling out with 4:04 to go.
“We just tried to stay positive and play as a team, just focus every day in practice and work hard every day in practice and execute the game plan,” said White, who scored Permian’s first two baskets.
Permian took an 8-2 lead late in the first quarter, but Coronado hit four free throws in the final 20 seconds of the period and tied it on Hank Hayes’ layup to start the second quarter.
That’s when Miller took over, scoring 11 points the rest of the half as the Panthers led 22-10 at the break.
“It was just the flow of the game,” Miller said of his outburst, which included three baskets in less than a minute. “My teammates were finding me in my spots and I just tried to execute the offense and score points.”
Permian held Coronado, which was just 7 of 21 shooting in the game, without a score for nearly eight minutes over the second and third quarters, pushing the lead to 16 before the Thunderbirds ended the drought.
“I always tell them if your defense is really good, you’ve got a chance,” Thomas said. “Fortunately, our defense was really great that first half.”
Coronado got as close as eight early in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers quickly pushed the lead back to double digits and maintained the cushion the rest of the way. White said having a double-figure lead in such a low-scoring game was significant for Permian.
“It was really good for us,” he said. “When we got it, we just tried to hold on to it and tried to buckle down on defense. When we score on one end, we’ve got to stop them on the other end.”
Class 6A Bi-District Game at Pecos HS
Matt Herrera 0 0-0 0, Connor Gray 1 2-3 4, Ayaan Sohail 2 12-15 16, Rip Mitchell 0 3-4 3, Beck Brown 2 6-8 10, Daniel Gomez 0 0-0 0, Cole Randal 0 0-1 0, Or Balkin 1 0-2 2, Ethan Leyva 0 1-2 1, Hank Hayes 1 0-0 2m, Edgar Gandera 0 0-0 0, Johnny Acosta 0 0-0 0. Totals 7 24-35 38.
Brother Miller 9 3-5 23, Elijah White 3 5-7 11, Nakavieon White 0 0-0 0, Justin Hammond 0 2-4 2, Ozzy Terrazas 3 1-2 7, Johnathan Anaya 0 0-0 0, Fabian Flotte 0 0-0 0, Derrick Wright 0 4-4 4, Ty’derick Henderson 0 0-0 0, Zach McGee 3 2-2 9. Totals 18 17-24 56.
Coronado……………… 6…. 4 12 16 — 38
Permian……………….. 8.. 14 12 22 — 56
3-Point goals — Coronado 0, Permian 3 (Miller 2, McGee 1). Total fouls — Coronado 23, Permian 24. Fouled out — Terrazas. Technical fouls — Gray.