Champions! Panther Boys Earn 2020 DIII State Title
With an up and down season, the #7 seed Panthers trip to the Aud was never a sure thing. But with an upset of #2 Randolph 63-54 in the quarterfinals, they punched their ticket emphatically for the third year in a row. The Valley News round-up quotes coach Jason Gray: “It just means that the boys are dedicated and they want to show the best of their abilities at the right time. So they played their hearts out, (and) I tried to coach my heart out.”
In the semifinal game, the Panthers faced #6 Peoples Academy. Peoples’ Wolves came out aggressively with a strong defense, earning a halftime lead of 30-13. After a halftime huddle with Coach Gray, the Panthers roared back decisively, chipping away at the Wolves’ lead with a 12-0 run. With less than two minutes in the game, senior Alex Emerson scored the points that put Thetford ahead.
From Adam Boffey in the Valley News: “The senior gave TA its first lead since 2-0 on a successful drive to the hole with 1:49 left in the game. Wolf and Dunnet followed with free throws, and the former’s floater on a feed from Emerson over the packed-in Peoples defense capped Thetford’s scoring. TA big man Eamon Deffner then blocked Charlie Veit’s shot at the top of the key to put the icing on the cake of a most improbable comeback at the Aud.”
For the second year in a row, the hardworking Panthers are victorious. Congratulations to the 2020 Division III State Champions. Roar, Panthers, roar!