It wasn’t easy, but the Brusly Panthers found a way to get it done.
The Panthers came out with a 63-61 win over the University High Cubs at home Friday night in a matchup between Top 5 teams in their respective classes.
Brusly saw a double-digit lead in the third quarter slip away, but held on for the two-point victory.
“In the first half I thought we played really well,” said Brusly coach Kirby Loupe. “I thought we gave up some easy buckets in the second quarter that allowed them to keep stretching that lead to five and six. We missed some easy shots around the rim. We wanted to be aggressive when we broke the press, but we were a little out of control at times.”
Bryce Brown made a three that put U-High (21-5) ahead 10-4 in the early going. Brusly (20-4) responded with a quick 7-0 run capped by Ja’Sean Leduff’s layup that gave Brusly the lead.
The Cubs held on to the lead the rest of the first half and entered the break clinging to a 28-27 advantage.
Brusly extended the lead to 40-34 with four minutes remaining in the third quarter before the Cubs went on a short 5-0 burst following DJ Morton’s layup that trimmed the deficit to 40-39.
The Panthers responded11-0 run capped by Jalen Forest’s layup that spanned the rest of the third quarter and the first two minutes of the fourth to give the home team a 51-39 cushion.
U-High clawed back into the game, forcing stops defensively and converting the stops into buckets in transition.
Brock Brown’s layup with 25.4 seconds brought the Cubs to within two at 61-59 before Nick Penell connected with Dylan Dominique on a pass that Dominique that led to a layup and extended Brusly’s lead to four.
Forest and LeDuff had 19 points apiece, which led both squads. Eleven of LeDuff’s points came in the second half. Davis Stovall added 12 for Brusly.
“I started out looking for my teammates and as I got them out, I started looking for my own shot,” LeDuff stated. “We’re more confident now. We trust ourselves more doing certain stuff. Shooting certain shots, it (win) just gives us more confidence all around.”
Brusly will be in action as the No. 2 seed in the District 7-3A tournament Thursday against Mentorship.
The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Madison Prep.