Entering their District 2-6A opener, the Panthers averaged 59.8 points per game.
However, Thomas shifted the team’s focus during practice to defense and that switched helped lift Permian to a 50-28 victory over Wolfforth Frenship Friday at the Permian Fieldhouse.
“Collectively, the kids are committed to getting down and guarding people,” Thomas said. “They play team basketball on offense. Tonight, we had the make the decision that we needed to guard them and make them take tough shots. We had to try to keep them out of the paint and we had to rebound. That was the game plan.”
The Panthers (14-9 overall, 1-0 District 2-6A) didn’t win the opening tipoff, but that’s what nearly all they gave up in the first quarter. Permian jumped out an 8-4 lead after Anthony Thomas picked up a steal and dunked in transition. The Panthers continued to buckle down on defense and extend their lead over the Tigers.
Wolfforth Frenship (13-8, 0-1) didn’t record a field goal for more than four minutes during the first quarter. In the meantime, the Panthers grabbed a double-digit, 16-6, lead to close out the initial eight minutes of the contest.
Permian ballooned its advantage in the second quarter which included a five-point spurt from Nakavieon White. The 6-foot-4 freshman forward hit a 3-pointer and layup within 21 seconds of each other. He finished with a season-high eight points.
“It gave me more momentum to keep pushing and make better plays,” White said about his confidence after his first basket. “I just try to do whatever I can to help my team on defense and anything else that coach needs me to do.”
There were two players on Permian’s roster that weren’t surprised about White’s performance.
It was his two older brothers — Elijah White and Derrick Wright.
“I was extremely proud of my little brother,” said Wright, who finished with 10 points off the bench. “We had been on him, because we know what he’s capable of. We just tell him to play his game, tonight he finally did and I’m the happiest big brother.”
At halftime, the Panthers held a 30-15 advantage and that lead continued to grow after the break.
Permian opened the third quarter with an 8-0 run. Anthony Thomas, who ended with 10 points, supplied a pair of field goals during that run. Nakavieon White closed out the third quarter with layup to give the Panthers a 24-point, 45-21, lead.
“Usually, we would either have a good first half or a good second half,” Wright said. “We just wanted to play an all-around great game. We still turned the ball over a little bit, but all-around we had a pretty great game.”
In the final quarter, there were a total of five field goals and three free-throw attempts. It marked the only quarter Wolfforth Frenship outscored Permian 7-5. Ozzy Terrazas closed out the contest with nine points for the Panthers, while Bradley Brooks posted a team-high 12 points with the Tigers.
The Panthers continue their season, traveling to crosstown rival Odessa High, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the OHS Fieldhouse. Permian and Odessa High are both 1-0 in district play and their first meeting during the third-place game of the Byron Johnston Holiday Classic went to overtime as the Panthers escaped with a 62-59 victory.
“It will be the second time we’ve played them and it’s a rivalry game, so it will be fun,” Tim Thomas said. “We are going to their turf and my guys are going to be excited about it. Their guys are going to be excited about it.”
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