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Panthers prevail in opening round of own regional

GARDNER — Morgan Park Academy may have made the partisan crowd nervous a few times, but Gardner-South Wilmington pulled away for good in the fourth quarter Monday night.

GSW prevailed 52-35 in a quarterfinal game at its own Class 1A boys basketball regional in a game that was as close as four points late in the third quarter. Now 13-11 overall, the Panthers have ensured a winning season after totaling two victories in 2012-13. They will play River Valley Conference rival St. Anne in a regional semifinal game Wednesday.

After 3-pointers from Jack Costello and Nick Boarden got the Warriors (8-18) within 30-26 late in the third, Kyle Robison had a driving layup in the final seconds, and the Panthers followed it by scoring the first nine points of the fourth quarter. Austin Kavanaugh had five of the points on three free throws and a short basket. Morgan Park Academy was held scoreless for 3:45 to begin the quarter.

"We played good defense," Robison said. "In the beginning, we were sloppy, but we ended up playing good defense and pulling through."

Robison's 12 points were a team high for GSW, which got 10 each from Scott Horrie, Blake Marks and Tristan Noonan. Marks also totaled 16 rebounds.

Coach Chris Gibson called the game the best of the season for Horrie.

"He really has matured as a point guard, and I thought he really had the mindset, really took the ball strong to the basket tonight and made things happen," Gibson said of Horrie. "Was strong with the ball whenever they were hand-checking him. Just his maturity process throughout this year has made me very proud."

The Panthers have now won six straight games, but St. Anne is the No. 1 seed at the regional and swept GSW during the regular season.

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