The All A State Tournament was held in Frankfort over the weekend. Our Russellville Panthers were oh so close to making it to the final day. Newport Central Catholic (14-7) ending the Panthers’ run in the semifinal game in overtime, 61-51.
Earlier in the state tournament, the Panthers beat East Ridge 63-52 in the opening round. That setup a meeting with the Mayfield Cardinals on Friday. The Cardinals (16-6) had been riding a seven-game winning streak before meeting Russellville for the sweet 16. Coach Todd’s Panthers had four players score double-digit points to easily punch their ticket to the final 4 to take place on Saturday. The final score against Mayfield was 81-59. Pedro Bradshaw and Jacob Naylor each scored 23 in the big win. Micah Naylor finished with 13, while Jaylyn McMurry scored 11 in the win. Bradshaw pulled down 13 rebounds on the night. He is now over 1000 in his career, second in Panther history to Coach Todd.
On Saturday, The Panthers faced a very tough Newport Central Catholic team in the final 4. The first half looked promising for the black and gold. Russellville was up by as much as 14 points early in the game. The Thoroughbreds from Newport closed the gap to five points at the half. After the break, the Panthers had trouble getting the ball to fall the right direction. Jacob Naylor seemed to be the only Panther finding luck during the third quarter. He scored ten points before another teammate got one to fall. The Panther lead was 39-32 going into the final frame.
The fourth quarter was not kind to RHS. They went nearly the entire quarter without hitting a shot, other than free throws. Newport Central Catholic took advantage. They managed to tie the game and force overtime. The shots stayed cold for the Panthers in OT. The Thoroughbreds pulled ahead for good, beating the Panthers by ten and advancing to the state championship game. Newport Central Catholic was beaten in the final game on Sunday by Paris (18-6) by a score of 66-48.
After the second Clash of the Cats meeting this week, the Panthers will have another district match up with Franklin-Simpson on Friday.