Panthers aim to gain ground on district opponents

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This week offers an opportunity for the Paschal boys basketball team to fight its way back up the district standings.

Paschal (9-12, 2-7 Dist. 4-6A) hosts Arlington Lamar (14-11, 5-4 Dist. 4-6A) Tuesday night. The Panthers then go on the road to face Arlington Sam Houston (9-12, 5-4 Dist. 4-6A) Friday.

Lamar and Sam Houston are tied for No. 3 in District 4-6A. Wins over both teams would give the Panthers a chance to move up from their seventh place spot in the standings.

“They’re two good teams,” said Paschal head coach David Watson. “Lamar has one of the best players in the area.”

That player is senior point guard Julius Jackson, who is averaging 15.6 points per game in district games. He dropped 32 against Arlington Martin in the district opener.

The Panthers lost their first meeting with Lamar, 57-47 on Jan. 9. Vikings senior forward, Diontae Champion, scored 17 points. Junior shooting guard, Tyrik Price, had 20 for the Panthers. Paschal lost to Sam Houston 48-31 the following week.

“We lost close games to them where we just couldn’t shoot the ball well,” Watson said. “Hopefully we’ll shoot the ball well this time, and we’ll see what happens.”

The Panthers are coming off a better shooting performance against Weatherford. They beat the Kangaroos 56-32 on the road Friday for their second win of the calendar year. Price had 18 points, three rebounds and two steals, and junior point guard, Dylan Thomas, added 12 points to go with two steals and a block.

“We decided to be more up-tempo, to pressure a little bit more,” Watson said of the win. “At this point we have nothing to lose. We’re just trying to get our guys to play hard.”

The coach said he hopes the team’s attitude in that win will carry forward into the last month of the season. The Panthers have five games remaining and could still make the playoffs.

“We’ll see where that carries us. The season’s not over for us yet,” Watson said. “There are still goals that can be met.”

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