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ET Basketball: Spring Hill Panthers pound pair of opponents

George Whitley

By George Whitley
Dec. 28, 2017 at 12:01 a.m.

Spring Hill's Exavier Hillton takes a shot between defenders during Wednesday's December 27, 2017 against Winona. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

There was little difficulty for the Spring Hill Panthers in securing top seed in pool play of their Christmas tournament that tipped off Wednesday.

Kyren Miller's 20 points, coupled with 13 points from Ryan Willis, paced the Panthers to a 77-35 basting of Winona in morning play.

Miller again netted 20 points, while Willis and Tyler Caron each tossed in a dozen, leading the Panthers to a decisive 71-57 verdict over West Rusk in afternoon action.

Spring Hill (9-5) locked up the number one seed in the 14-team field and plays Daingerfield in a 1 p.m. start today.

"I think my kids right now are seeing the court real well and trusting each other. We just have to continue that process," offered Panther coach Tom Ender.

"It's important that all our kids get some playing time when we have the opportunity. That's the only way we can develop as a team."

Ender had the good fortune of cleaning his bench in both lopsided wins. The Panthers shot well from the floor in the opener and turned up the defense in the second game.

"I still think we have a lot of work to do. Especially on defense with rebounding and going after loose balls," Ender explained. "Getting ready for second round, I think my kids will rise to the level of their competition."

Miller rained down three 3-pointers in the first quarter of the Winona contest as Spring Hill held a commanding 23-5 lead.

His top of the key trey made it 13-3 with 3:53 to play. The Panthers used a 16-0 run midway of the first period.

Caron got a nice tip in at 3:05 and converted an old-fashioned three-point play on an assist from Miller at 1:32 to make it 21-3.

Exavier Hinton's layup at 6:49 of the second grew the Panther lead to 20 points. Tyrese Jones swished an extra-pointer at 3:58 to make it 34-9.

Spring Hill broke from the gate in the third as Willis scored on an assist from Kiante Stoker and followed with a lay-in at 5:52 to push the margin to 49-16.

Christian Rogers and Casey Mudoh got in on the action late in the third with buckets as Spring Hill took a most comfortable 67-26 lead to the final quarter.

Zach Tulpa, Nick Stewart and Taylor Dishman all had baskets in the closing eights minutes.

Willis sank the back end of a two-shot foul to set in motion an 8-0 spurt in the first quarter of the West Rusk contest. Miller dropped a trey at 5:19 to make it 10-2.

The Panthers never looked back from that point forward. Caron's pull-up jumper in the paint at 1:33 made it 14-6.

Willis opened the second period scoring on a putback, Miller converted a snowbird and Caron flushed one to make it 20-12 midway of the first half.

A rare-four point play by Miller made it a 10-point Panther advantage. Spring Hill would eventually build a 33-19 halftime margin.

The Panthers continually thwarted Raider shot efforts with block after block. Dishman's 3-pointer at 2:52 of the third made it 52-22.

A well-timed alley-oop from Miller to Caron put an exclamation point on the one-sided contest.

(Follow George Whitley on Twitter: @GPigskinprof)

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