After the Portland and Westmoreland boys ended the first half in an 18-18 tie, the Eagles outscored the Purple 38-27 over the final 16 minutes to post a 56-45 win last Tuesday evening.

The Panthers led at one point in the second quarter by a 17-8 margin, but the visitors scored the final ten points to tie the game at intermission.

“I was pleased with the first and a half quarters of the game,” Coach Joshua Epperson said. “We had a good run in the second period. We let off the gas and Westmoreland made a run.“

The Panthers led briefly in the third quarter before the visitors outscored the Purple 14-10 to hold a 32-29 edge heading into the final eight minutes of action.

Portland never got any closer than three the remainder of the contest.

“We’ve got to do a better job on the boards,” Epperson noted. “We gave up 14 offensive rebounds and that was big. Grant (Cook) got in foul trouble and that hurt us. It was a physical game and credit Westmoreland, they played well and had the right people to take shots.”

Freshman Dairius Bell led the Panthers with 17 points with Austin Hicks adding eight and Luke Jones and Grant Cook each finishing with six. Dawson Simmons and Bryce Keith each had three and Mitchell Eagle rounded out the scoring with two.

Dylan Duffer topped the Eagles in scoring with 15 while Colton Pippin added 13 and Garrison netted ten.

After falling behind 4-0 to start the contest, the Panthers got six straight points from Cook to tie the game at 6-6. The Eagles snapped the tie with a bucket but Bell closed out the period with a 3-point play and a 3-pointer to lead 12-8.

The Panthers opened the second quarter with five straight points and a 17-8 advantage as Bell led the way with four. But the Eagles came back with ten unanswered points to end the half in a 18-18 deadlock.

A Bell foul shot gave the Panthers their final lead of the evening as the third quarter opened. The Eagles regained the lead for good on a 3-point play and extended their margin to seven, 30-23. Hicks and Simmons made back-to-back 3-point shots as the period ended but the Eagles still led 32-29.

Portland stayed close as Jones scored five in a row including a 3-pointer that trilled the deficit by three, 37-34. Duffer poured in 11 points in the final period as the Eagles maintained their advantage to hold on for the victory.

Portland travels to Gallatin this Friday and hosts Station Camp next Tuesday.

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