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TAMPA — History did not repeat itself Tuesday night as Wharton avenged an earlier loss to Plant, defeating the Panthers 52-48 in a pivotal District 6A-8 matchup.
“Earlier in the season they (the Panthers) took it to us,” Wharton coach Tommy Tonelli said. “I knew it was going to be a fight to the finish tonight, and I am proud of the way our guys responded.”
The Wildcats opened up the scoring with four straight points.
However, with a score of 7-7 at the end of the first quarter, it was obvious both teams were playing evenly.
But as the Panthers got into foul trouble in the first half (committing eight), and with Wharton going 9-for-10 from the line, the Wildcats were quietly starting to pull away.
Wildcats senior A.J. Astroth’s impressive play from the line (6-for-6 in the first half) helped Wharton to a 28-21 lead at halftime.
As Mike Frazier made two free throws to open up the third quarter the Panthers seemed to be forging a comeback, but they trailed 39-27 at the end of the third quarter.
Frazier scored 16 in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough as the Wildcats held on.
Astroth led the Wildcats with 26 points and went 11-for-15 from the line. Frazier had 31 points for the Panthers and went 6-for-6 from the line.