The season is over for the Wetumpka boys basketball team after a bitter 56-50 loss to Pelham Wednesday.
Playoff basketball finds the best players on the court regardless of the outcomes and fans were treated to a good game Wednesday night. Wetumpka started out the game with a quick lead but the Panthers were able to match and then take the lead themselves.
“I’m proud of this group of guys,” Wetumpka head coach Byron Gaskin said. “We done fought through a lot, just came up a little short tonight. I don’t think we had our best first half and came out second half and played a lot harder. Had the ball bounce our way. At the end of the day, we fell a little short. It sucks man.”
The Panthers would refuse to hand over the lead in the first quarter and managed to maintain it well into the second half, but Wetumpka didn’t go quietly into the night as the first quarter buzzer sounded a 12-10 gap.
It was also a telling sign that just three of the Indians’ players managed to record points in the scorebook. Even Robert Rose was not able to score from the field in the opening quarter of play.
The Indians woke up in the second quarter, but after putting up five quick points, the Panthers marched their lead out to 21-15 lead. Wetumpka couldn’t catch back up completely and the Panthers’ lead rose to 29-22 when the halftime buzzer sounded.
The second half was even more interesting, lead changes whipped up the Indians’ crowd but Panthers fans also traveled well to the Indians’ home. It was a battle on the court and in the stands.
Wetumpka managed to pull a brief lead in the third quarter, but Pelham was right there to contest it. Just 40 seconds into the fourth quarter, Pelham grabbed the lead and didn’t let it go.
Wetumpka challenged for it with 5:34 remaining in the quarter but the Panthers were well in control. Pelham went on an eight-point run before the Indians could score again and time wasn’t on their side.
Pelham ran off with the 56-50 victory when the final buzzer sounded.
Wetumpka’s season resulted in 20 wins, the first time in nearly 15 years according to Gaskin, and it’s the first time in a long time since they’ve last been to sub-regional play.
“It’s been our best season. The first 20-win season in about 15 years; that’s why I can’t be more proud of these guys and everything we battled through,” Gaskin said.
Michael Bass scored 12 points in the loss while Rose added 10.