ONEONTA – Less than 24 hours after losing a two-point heartbreaker to Class 2A, Area 12 rival Sand Rock, the Spring Garden Panthers were involved in another close basketball game down the stretch at Class 4A Oneonta on Saturday.
Only this time the result was different.
Weston Kirk stole the ball and passed it off to Chaz Pope for a layup with 18 seconds to go. Pope then took a charge on the defensive end with 1.8 seconds remaining, allowing the Panthers to escape with a 47-46 victory.
Cooper Austin led the Panthers (14-5) with 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Kirk added seven points, three assists, a steal and a block. Luke Welsh posted six points. Cam Welsh contributed five points. Pope finished with four points, 12 boards and a pair of steals.
Spring Garden held an 11-9 advantage at the end of the first quarter and built a 28-18 lead at halftime. Oneonta cut the Panther lead to 38-32 at the end of three quarters, setting the stage for a thrilling fourth-quarter battle.
The Panthers host Westbrook Christian in a key area contest on Tuesday.
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