GARDNER – Gardner-South Wilmington may have been the second-best boys basketball team in the River Valley Conference this season, but the champion showed its superiority Wednesday night.
Top-seeded St. Anne defeated the Panthers by a larger margin than in either regular-season game between the teams at the Class 1A GSW Regional, winning 83-46. The Cardinals moved into Friday’s championship to play an opponent that will be determined today, and the Panthers bowed out at 13-12 overall.
“The plan was to sag the thing in and make them shoot 3s and hopefully rebound the misses tonight. They hit 3s tonight, that’s all there is to it,” GSW coach Chris Gibson said. “They’re a championship-level team.”
What had been a 23-20 game at the end of the first quarter turned dramatically in the second. St. Anne (23-4) began with a 13-0 run that included seven points from Octavious Davis and six, on a pair of 3-pointers, from Rickey Taylor.
GSW’s first points of the quarter came on a Brandon Elens 3-pointer with 4:14 left in the half. Before that, the Panthers had missed their first seven shots after going 7-for-9 from the field in the first quarter.
They did not make another field goal before halftime, as St. Anne closed on a 17-1 run to lead 53-24 at halftime. DaeVeontae Paino scored the first four points of the run for the Cardinals and Nate Bretveld the last five.
St. Anne won the second quarter 33-4 by going 11-for-21 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line, holding the Panthers to 1-for-14 shooting and grabbing 16 rebounds to GSW’s seven.
After Davis made a 3-pointer 13 seconds into the game, the Panthers briefly led when Blake Marks made a short basket and Scott Horrie followed with a conventional three-point play.
Jeff Taylor tied the game for the Cardinals with two free throws and gave them the lead with a driving basket, and Rickey Taylor followed with a 3, but the Panthers had answers in the first. They made a 6-0 run that shrunk a 16-9 St. Anne lead to a single point and were within three after closing the quarter on a 5-4 run.