PAOLA — Three-pointers were the difference in the latest installment of the Paola Panther boys basketball rivalry with the Broncos from Spring Hill.
Even with the cheerleaders chanting “shoot two,” the Spring Hill boys lived on the 3-pointer. The Broncos sank nine of them in a five-point, 48-43, victory at Paola on Friday, Jan. 3.
Alexander Johnson made four of the 3-pointers for Spring Hill, finishing with a game-high 18 points. He added four free throws and a two-point field goal.
Ryan Weber and Luke Metcalf each sank a pair of 3-pointers. Weber posted 12 points. Metcalf added seven points.
Paola set the tone early, holding a 12-8 edge in the first quarter.
Spring Hill locked down on defense and started a 3-point barrage in the second quarter, sinking four of their nine 3-pointers in the frame to fuel a 20-6 run.
Paola trailed by 10 points at the half, but would fight right back into it.
The Panthers got a pair of 3-pointers from guard Ryan Wokutch and forward Grant Penn in the third quarter to spark a 19-12 run.
It was a one-point, 37-36, game headed to the fourth quarter.
The Broncos defense held the Panthers to two field goals and two free throws in the final eight minutes, extending its lead to victory with a 12-6 run.
Spring Hill made 14 field goals with nine from 3-point range. The Broncos made 11 of 18 from the free-throw line.
Johnson, Weber and Metcalf led Spring Hill offensively. Cooper Jones, Daniel Mitchell and Aron Dominick also scored for Spring Hill.
Center Tanner Moala, Wokutch and Penn all hit double figures for Paola.
Moala scored a team-high 13 points. Wokutch added 12 points. Penn finished with 10 points.
Bo Robison, Austin Weaver and Caden Marcum also scored.
The Paola Panthers went on an 11-4 run in the first quarter against the Ottawa Cyclones on the road Dec. 20.
Ottawa held Paola to nine points or less in each of the next three quarters, handing the Panthers a 47-33 loss.
Moala led the Panthers with a game-high 20 points.
Evan Phillips, Wokutch, Robison, Weaver and Marcum also scored for Paola.