The Portland boys trailed the entire game, but still had a chance in the fourth quarter before falling to host White House Heritage, 45-29 last Tuesday.
In the final eight minutes of the contest, the Panthers had 14 possessions, but scored only four field goals along with four foul shots.
“We couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” Coach Joshua Epperson said. “We had easy open shots and could have scored nine or ten more points in the fourth quarter. But it didn’t happen.”
The Patriots led from the opening tip-off with a 3-pointer by D.J. Upon creating a 9-1 spread. Portland responded on back-to back shots from freshman Quintin Fowler and trailed 9-5.
“We put ourselves behind and they came out strong in the second half,” Epperson explained. “We did hold them to their lowest point total of the season. It was our best defense of the season. Offensively, we have work to do. We had 23 turnovers tonight.”
After trailing by four after the first period of action, the Panthers faced a nine-point deficit at halftime. The Purple was behind 11-8 in the early minutes of the second quarter but a 9-0 run by the Patriots, including a slam by Nick DesMarais pushed the hosts up 20-8.
Portland’s Samari Patton drained a 3-pointer shot in the final seconds of the first half and the Purple went to the locker room trailing 20-11.
White House Heritage scored the first nine points of the third period to go up 29-11 and extended that lead to 19, 35-16 heading into the final eight minutes.
The Panthers managed just five points over the first four minutes of the fourth. Connor Simmons connected from outside, Bryce Keith nailed one of two foul shots and Luke Jones netted two at the stripe.
After an Upton basket, Hicks recorded a 3-pointer for a 13-point difference at the three-minute mark. The Panthers trailed by 12 on a Jones shot but never got any closer. Darrius Bell netted a free throw but the Patriots put the game away with seven straight points.
Hicks led the Purple in scoring with seven while Fowler had five and Jones and Bell each netted four. Patton contributed three, Jakeb Hester and Connor Simmons each scored and Grant Cook and Keith followed with one apiece.
Upton had 12 to pace the Patriots.
Portland travels to Davidson Academy Thursday night and play in the Macon County Christmas Tournament starting Dec. 27.