• 34°

Whitaker records first win as Panthers defeat Chiefs

Ryan Whitaker had to wait a couple games before his team gave him his first win of his tenure at Cumberland Gap High School. The Panthers defeated Cherokee 49-46.

Jake Templin had a fast start which allowed the Panthers to lead after one period of play, 12-10.

Jaden Schertz stepped up during the second period and dropped in five points but Cherokee had 15 points to win the second period 15-11. At the half, Cherokee lead by two at 25-23.

Cumberland Gap outscored the Chiefs 13-7 during the third period in part to Templin and five more points.

During the final period the game came down to who wanted it more and Cherokee outscored the Panthers 15-13 but Cumberland Gap earned the win at the charity stripe making enough free throws to seal the deal giving Coach Whitaker his first win as Panthers coach.

Leading the Panthers in scoring was Templin with 17. Dylan Ellison stayed consistent throughout the game and finished with nine, Schertz had seven, Clint Crockett finished with six all in the final period. Jon Graves finished with five points, Logan Daniels had four, Richie Logan had a single point to round out the total.

Leading Cherokee was Carter Metz with 14.

Coach Whitaker had this to say about his team and his first win as Panthers coach, “The kids competed and played hard. They gave great effort for a full 32 mins. Still have a long way to go and many things to work on but I’m proud of the way we battled. That first win was amazing. The community and student body support was great and didn’t go unnoticed. The guys fed off of their energy. Hope it was the first of many to come.”

Cumberland Gap Athletic Director Jeff Sziksai added, “Coach Whitaker has really got his guys competing hard so far this season. It was great to see them finish last night. A well earned win, and undoubtedly an indicator of more to come. Congrats to Coach Whitaker in his first win at The Gap.”

By ALLEN EARL

allen.earl@claiborneprogress.net

Video: The Panthers withstood a last second three pointer by Cherokee to tie the game

Video by Mara Brock