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Championship feeling suits Barmore and Panama boys

JAMESTOWN – Cam Barmore came up clutch in another big game for his team, except this time Panama’s the only school that got to experience that winning feeling.

Barmore’s personal dream season continued as the 6-foot-4 junior poured in a game-high 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Panama to a 57-48 victory over Forestville in the Section VI Class D boys basketball championship game Friday night at Jamestown Community College. Jack Sperry and Mitch Hovey each added 10 points as six Panthers scored in helping the program secure its second title in four years.

For Barmore, it’s his second sectional title in as many seasons. He’s a standout receiver for Clymer/Sherman/Panama and made numerous contributions during the Thunderwolves’ run to the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Class D football championship in the fall.

“It feels great,” Barmore said. “It shows we don’t need two other schools to be good. ... I love (all my teammates) but people said that was the reason (being a merged program) why we were so good at football. It’s nice to win without them sometimes.”

Panama seized control during a six-minute stretch of the second quarter. Nursing a 12-11 lead, the Panthers held Forestville scoreless. Barmore’s football teammate Gerrit Hinsdale sparked an 11-0 run with a pair of layups. Hovey drained a three and Barmore capped it with a pair of free throws. Panama led 31-16 at halftime.

Though the Panthers pushed the lead to 19 twice during the third quarter (once on a trey by Barmore and then on a basket by Hinsdale), the Hornets refused to go down that easily.

Forestville scratched and clawed within seven with 1:15 left on Javier West’s three-point play. The Hornets had a chance to inch closer 20 seconds later but a West runner refused to fall.

Luke Szumigala had 17 points and West 15 to lead Forestville (13-10), which was trying to win its first sectional title in basketball since 1985.

For Panama (17-6), the return to championship glory is pretty sweet. After losing in the state final four in 2016, the suddenly rebuilding Panthers struggled to the point where they opted out of the postseason the following year.

The Panthers are back, and roaring into the state quarterfinals against a still-to-be-determined Section V champion. The game is slated for 6:30 p.m. March 9 at Greece Athena High School.

“It took a lot of hard work,” Barmore said. “Everyone playing all summer. We came in and showed hard work pays off. It feels great.”

“The kids persevered and got the job done,” Panama coach Ed Nelson said. “There’s nothing like playing at JCC.”

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