Heading back into the state’s highest classification after losing most of their contributing players a season ago, it seemed like it may be an uphill climb for the Lufkin Panthers. Instead two weeks into district action, the Panthers have the look of a legitimate district title contender.
That early-season surge continued on Tuesday night as the Panthers busted a relatively close game wide open in the fourth quarter on their way to a 71-45 win over the Oak Ridge War Eagles.
After struggling to find its offense for much of the first three quarters, Lufkin used a strong finish to the first half by scoring the final eight points for a 27-15 lead.
Lufkin extended that lead to 18 points in the third quarter before Oak Ridge scored the final nine points to make it a 39-32 game headed into the final eight minutes.
Once the Panthers finally found their offensive stride in the fourth quarter, Oak Ridge never stood a chance as Lufkin used a 32-13 surge to secure its fourth straight district win.
Courtnee Garcia led the Panthers with 18 points while Ke’Vonte Hurts had 17. They were joined in double digits by Nick Wilson, who added 12.
Other scorers for the Pack were Chris Thompson (8), Kordell Rodgers (4), James Jefferson and Kodie Callison (3) and Jeremiah Davis and Breylon Garcia (2).
Tyler Davidson led Oak Ridge with 10 points.
Lufkin will face a big-time challenge on Friday night when it travels to The Woodlands.
On Tuesday night in Conroe, the Lady Panthers came up just short in dropping a 70-63 decision to the Oak Ridge Lady Eagles.
Lufkin will return home on Friday night for a key district showdown against The Woodlands.