Panthers handle adversity and Eagles in first victory

Published 12:57 am Saturday, December 5, 2009

Last year the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva boys’ basketball team struggled to close out tight ball games and head coach Brian Riley wondered if this year’s team would have the same problem again.

Riley got his answer in dramatic fashion Friday as the Panthers got a 56-54 victory against Maple River in New Richland.

After leading the Eagles the majority of the game, NRHEG found itself down 53-52 with 23.1 seconds left in the game. With the game on the line senior Cory Camerer hit a 10-foot jumper with two defenders draped over him to give the Panthers a 54-53 lead and he was fouled on the play. Camerer completed the three-point play and NRHEG held on to win its first game of the season.

Email newsletter signup

“He’s an amazing player,” Riley said. “He’s got great skill. He made some tough shots tonight.”

The Panthers led by as much as 11 in the game but a cold shooting spurt in the second half allowed the Eagles to get back in the game. With 2:39 left to play Maple River took its first lead of the game when Jaron Denn hit a 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 49-46 lead.

NRHEG trimmed it to 53-52 after Tyler Firme hit two free throws and forced a jump ball on the inbounds play when Firme and Brett Hagen were able to tie up Maple River. The possession arrow pointed to the Panthers and that’s all Camerer needed.

“The jump ball was huge” Riley said. “We had a trap on trying to get a turnover and they luckily picked up their dribble underneath the hoop and really limited what they could do.”

Camerer carried the Panthers to victory with 27 points. He was the only NRHEG player in double figures and seemed to hit shot after shot all night. Whether it was a jumper from the elbow or a spin move in the post, Camerer had it working against Maple River.

Early on the Eagles had no answer for Camerer and he scored nearly every time he got the ball in the post and he kept offensive possessions alive with his rebounding. He finished with 17 rebounds.

The Panthers held a 10-point lead at halftime, but a three and a half minute scoring drought in the second half allowed Maple River back in the game.

Brett Hagen, Spencer Busho and Hunter Eustice all scored six points.

NRHEG outrebounded the Eagles 36-26.

The Panthers play Blue Earth next Friday in Blue Earth.

NRHEG 56, Maple River 54

Maple River 19 33 — 54

NRHEG 29 27 — 56

NRHEG scoring: Cory Camerer 27, Brett Hagen 6, Spencer Busho 6, Hunter Eustice 6, Evan Ferber 5, Tyler Firme 4, Trevor Spooner 2.