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West Stokes rallies for conference road win over Morehead
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West Stokes rallies for conference road win over Morehead

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Morehead senior Hayden Friese goes up for a score in the Panthers 61-54 2A Conference 34 loss to West Stokes Tuesday night.

EDEN — Leading by 14 points late in the third quarter, it looked like Morehead had the game in the bag versus West Stokes. But a furious Wildcat rally down the stretch was enough to take over the lead and eventually claim a 61-54 road 2A Conference 34 victory for the Wildcats Jan. 4.

After winning the opening tip, Morehead senior Hayden Friese beat everyone down the court for the first transition bucket of the night. Sophomore guard Makel Smith continued his stellar play in recent weeks with a 3-pointer followed by back-to-back transition buckets which helped the Panthers build a 24-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.

West Stokes answered in impressive fashion however, beginning with a 3-pointer by sophomore Cam Edwards to begin a 9-0 run in the first few minutes of the second period.

Smith finally broke the Panthers first cold-shooting stretch with two-consecutive fast break scores which allowed Morehead to stay on top as they closed out the half up 33-26.

Panthers guard Lucas Lynn helped to build a solid cushion, knocking down a trio of 3-point baskets, and Smith drained another, increasing to lead to 14 points.

But Wildcats’ big man, junior forward James Spainhour, started to find his touch in the paint offensively and also was a force on the defensive end as West Stokes cut the margin to 48-38 at the end of the third quarter.

That momentum carried over to the fourth period with Spainhour and Edwards staying consistent from the post and Keyan Kawley adding a 3-point basket.

Ultimately, the Wildcats’ slow and steady scoring over the course of the night kept the game from getting away from them when it appeared the Panthers were on the verge of a blowout. In addition, the Wildcats defense steadily got better as the game wore on as Morehead went cold and West Stokes outscored the home team 23-6 in the final frame to secure the victory.

Spainhour was a force in the paint all night long, but particularly in the second half, as he tallied 15 of his 24 total in the third and fourth quarters.

Bryson Bowman had 15 and Cam Edwards added 13 more to pace the Wildcats offensively.

The Morehead scoring attack was led by Lynn, who knocked down five 3-pointers on his way to 21 points. Smith netted 18, but scored only 5 in the second half while Hayden Friese added 8 points.

The Panthers will get a chance to avenge the loss when they travel to West Stokes Jan. 28 in the second half of the conference series.

Box score

W 13 13 12 23 — 61

M 24 9 15 6 — 54

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