Vandalia finished its regular season on a bit of a low note on Saturday with a 77-67 loss to Pana.
Having already locked up the conference championship and a first-round bye in the regional tournament, Vandalia didn't have much on the line against the Panthers.
Pana came out hitting just about everything, including a couple of threes to jump out to an 11-5 lead at the four-minute mark.
Vandalia was able to keep the lead at six after a late basket by Marty Johnson in the first period.
The Panthers' lead quickly ballooned to 10 in second quarter, and was up to 16-points when coach Kevin Jackson was whistled for a technical with three minutes to go before the half.
Vandalia went into the locker room at the half down 37-20.
The Vandals were mired in foul trouble to start the third quarter. With Johnson and Dylan Durr carrying three fouls, Vandalia struggled to stay in the game.
With less than three minutes to go in the third quarter, Vandalia was finally able to put together a run. Daniel Bell sank a three and Angel Osrio hit two free throws to bring Vandalia within seven at 45-38.
The Vandals would get within six, but Pana pulled away again at the end of the third to lead by nine with eight minutes left in the game.
The Panthers' lead slowly grew once again and they were up by 11 with 2:25 to go. One final late charge by the Vandals brought them within six in the final minute, but Pana hit a number of free throws down to stretch to hold on for the win.
Bryan Hosick scored a team-high 15 points and had six rebounds. Freshman Tim Ritchey had 14 points and five boards. Durr had 12 points, but would leave in the final minute after colliding with another player.
Vandalia committed only seven turnovers. The Vandals gave up a season-high 76 points, while scoring a season-high 66.
They were back on the court Wednesday against Hillsboro in regional play. Results were not available at press time.
South Central 20
Thursday night's stat sheet from the Vandalia vs. South Central game could easily come off as a strict defensive performance by the Vandals. In fact, it was all part of South Central's game plan from the start. The Vandals foiled the Cougars plan, however, winning 45-20 on senior night.
"You feel good for the senior., They've contributed a lot of time an effort to the program and have all been positive contributors. It's nice for them to go out that way," Vandalia coach Kevin Jackson said.
When the two teams met earlier in the season, Vandalia scored 59 points, one of its highest scoring games of the season. According to South Central coach Matt Sturgeon, the plan was to slow down the pace of Thursday's game and keep the Vandals on a scoring clip that the Cougars could stay with. Sturgeon's plan included having the Cougars take only four shots from the field in the first half. They made two and went into the locker at half down 18-5.
"Give them some credit. They did a nice job running off some clock," Jackson said. "Our kids figured out how to guard pretty well and caused some problems as the game progressed."
In the second half, when South Central tried to pick up the pace, Vandalia went with it and scored 27 points.
The Vandals started to knock down three-pointers in the third quarter. That helped expand its lead to 18 by the end of the third. In the fourth quarter, even Will Cowger hit a three, the first of his career.
Vandalia shot 50 percent in the second half (9-for-18), and hit seven three-pointers on the night.
Nine Vandals scored, with Daniel Bell leading the pack with nine.