A 13-7 first quarter and a halftime lead of 26-18 helped the Derby Panthers beat the Hutchinson Salthawks Friday night, taking the game between the two teams 56-40.
After that, the Panthers just had to hold the Salthawks at arms length, which they were able to do.
Hutchinson will play for seventh place in the 2019 Tournament of Champions against Wichita North Saturday in a game scheduled for noon. Derby advances to play Newton for fifth place at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
“We didn’t play well, I’ll be honest with you,” Hutchinson head coach Ted Webster said afterward. “I don’t want to take anything away from Derby, I know coach Flory and them, we see each other a lot, so they played hard minus a couple of really good players that they lost to injury, but our kids did not play well tonight.”
Overwhelmingly, the Salthawks stopped hitting shots in the fourth quarter, and that was nowhere more evident than at the free-throw line. After hitting 8 of 10 free throws through three quarters, the Salthawks went 4 of 11 from the free-throw line in the fourth, missing seven.
“I’m not happy,” Webster said. “I know we can make all kinds of excuses, but at some point in time we’ve got to come out and we’ve got to do what we’re capable of doing. We had way too many unforced errors and we had way too many forced errors as far as that goes. I’m just really disappointed that we did not come to play.”
Hutchinson senior Tate Webster had a team-high 16 points, and a game-high eight rebounds for the Salthawks. Junior Joe Blake had 10.
For Derby, senior Clayton Hood had a game-high 18 points for the Panthers. Junior Tre Washington had 14 and junior Nicholas Bonner had 11 points.
Derby outrebounded Hutchinson 32-26, but perhaps the biggest differential in the game was the points that came off them. Derby had 22 points off turnovers compared to 13 by Hutchinson.
“You just can’t give up points to any team let alone a good team like Derby and expect to fight your way back into it,” Webster said. “Then our free throws could have kept us in the game in the second half, we did OK on that in the first half, but second half we just did not shoot it anywhere. I mean we were 20-some percent across the board, 30 percent even from 2 (point range). We didn’t shoot it well from layups on out, and you can’t win many games doing that.”
The two teams played a back-and-forth game through the first quarter, but after the Hutchinson tied the game at 5-5 with 5:15 left, Derby went on a run, outscoring Hutchinson 8-2 the rest of the quarter, to take a 13-7 lead into the second.
Derby continued to score in the second, with multiple 3-pointers by Washington. Their lead expanded to 10 on a 3 by Washington with about 2:22 left in the second, and Hutch took a timeout.
The Panthers led 26-18 at halftime. For the Salthawks, Webster and Blake each had 6 points, a team-high at the time. For the Panthers, Washington and Bonner each had a then-game-high 9 points.
Derby outrebounded the Hutchinson 16-13 in the first half, and had two more steals, outstealing Hutchinson 8-6. Each team had 11 turnovers through the first two quarters. The Panthers massively outshot the Salthawks, hitting 42.3 percent of their shots compared to the 23.5 shooting percentage Hutchinson had.
Hutch continued to trail throughout the third. It took a 3-pointer by Webster in the final minute to cut the lead to 35-29, the first time in the quarter the Salthawks trailed by under 8 points. Still, they trailed 35-29 at the end of the quarter.
The Panthers started to capitalize on turnovers more in the fourth quarter, and firmly maintained their lead, taking a 42-31 lead with 6:00 left, prompting a Salthawk timeout at that time.
The Salthawks missed free throws constantly in the fourth, and were unable to make a comeback.