The Augusta Panthers may have been a slight favorite heading into Tuesday night’s battle with Harrison County, but the start of the game doomed them to failure.
The Thorobreds scored the first eight points of the game and jumped out to a 12-point lead at the end of the first period.
Harrison County hit on 44 percent of its field goal attempts in the opening stanza to 14 percent for Augusta.
The Breds also dominated the boards early as well as the entire first half taking a six-rebound margin into halftime.
But as well as the Breds shot and rebounded, the secret to the success was the defense of Nick Slucher. The junior guard held Augusta’s leading scorer and 2009-10 All Region player Colton Fraysure to only six points in the first half on one of 10 field goal shooting and four free throws.
Slucher’s combination of strength, quickness and tenacity was too much for the high scoring senior to overcome in the first half.
The Thorobreds took their largest lead in the middle of the second quarter has they expanded the lead over the Panthers to 22 at 32-10. The Panthers did begin a comeback in the late stages of that quarter cutting the Breds’ lead to 18 before the lead was pushed back to 22 at the half, 38-16.
At half time, the Breds were led in scoring by their two juniors Slucher with nine and Caleb Ford with eight.
Fraysure and sophomore Dalton Appleman led the Panther comeback in earnest to start the third period. Led by that duo’s scoring, the Panthers tallied 11 of the first 13 points in the second half to slice the lead to 13 points.
Harrison County pushed the lead back to 17 before Augusta scored the last six points of the quarter for an 11-point third quarter lead for the Breds.
Augusta continued to cut into the lead and with about three and one half minutes left, pared the lead to five at 58-53. Some key baskets from Slucher and free throws by senior guard Eric Sanders allowed the Thorobreds to score 12 of the last 15 points to secure the 14-point margin.
Ford led the Breds in scoring with 19 while Slucher added 15. Tyler Wagner led both teams in rebounding with 14 boards. Harrison County outrebounded Augusta 38-30 for the night.
The Breds committed 19 turnovers to 16 for the Panthers. Fraysure finished with a hard-fought 22 points as he warmed up in the latter stages of the game and made six of his last 10 field goal attempts.
Junior Wyatt Thorpe was the only other Panther in double figures as he netted 10 points.
The victory improved the Breds to 4-6 for the season while Augusta fell to 7-6.
The Thorobreds will next host Bracken County on Friday night to try to revenge the loss last week in the Bracken County tourney. The Breds will travel to Paris Saturday evening.
This win was number 528 for Coach Mike Reitz placing him tied for 32nd in KHSAA basketball wins.