Make no mistake, the East Panthers are a fairly young bunch this season with four sophomores and a junior comprising coach Starling Bryant’s lineup.
Growing pains should be expected and have occurred thus far this season, but the Panthers are starting to figure things out. The perennial Section VI championship contender won for the fifth time in its last six outings Saturday by trouncing Sweet Home, 73-46, to open Saturday’s Martin Luther King Jr. Classic tripleheader at City Honors.
Turning point: After yielding 9-1 quarter-closing run in the first to Sweet Home, the Panthers responded with a 30-point second quarter highlighted by a 23-5 run to end the frame to take a 38-23 lead into halftime. Moses Hughes scored 13 of his 17 points during the opening 16 minutes for East.
Skinny on East: East, the defending Section VI Class B champions, will be a C-1 for the season due to the district’s phase out plan for the school (no incoming freshmen). That should make for an interesting postseason, what with fellow Yale Cup member Middle College the defending Section VI Class C champions and Tapestry Charter of Buffalo also among the usual suburban contenders in that classification.
“We’re very young,” Bryant said. “I’m trying to toughen the kids up and get them ready for the sectional run. They’re starting to show a lot of improvement.”
Leaders: Williard Anderson scored a game-high 20 to lead the Panthers, while Waunya Shaw added 13 in the win. Tahron Goudelack had 11 points to lead Sweet Home.
Records: East 6-7. Sweet Home 2-10.
Next: East visits Burgard at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Sweet Home hosts Starpoint at 7 p.m. Wednesday.