Oliver comes off the bench to lead Panthers to win

Published 12:42 am Saturday, January 3, 2009

Mario Oliver helped Southside overcome a second half 11-point deficit to beat Keith 50-47 on Friday.

An Oliver jump shot with 2:45 left in the game gave the Panthers a 44-42 lead — the Panthers’ first lead since a Demarrious Pratt free throw gave Southside a 7-6 lead at the 4:34 mark of the first quarter.

The freshman followed that act with a steal and 3-point play to put the Panthers ahead for good at 49-47.

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“We had some guys step up off the bench,” said Southside coach Cedric Brown. “Mario Oliver stepped up and did a great job — an excellent job — off the bench. Overall we just played till the end. It’s a good win to start the year off with.”

Pratt had an opportunity to ice the game with a pair of free throws with only 11.7 seconds remaining. He made the first, but missed the second to give the Bears one more opportunity. But a Terrance Collins 3-point shot hit the back of the backboard and Southside (6-10) escaped.

The Bears (8-11), who won their last two meetings with the Panthers, used a 12-0 run triggered by a Ronnie Rosemond steal and layup to take a 19-7 first quarter lead. But Keith sputtered in the second quarter — scoring only four points — and the Panthers trimmed the deficit to 23-16 at the half.

“I don’t know if my guys relaxed or got complacent,” said Keith coach Tommy Tisdale. “That period we went flat. Games like tonight, we just didn’t play all four quarters.”

Trailing 35-25 going into the fourth period, Laquentin Gunn scored six points in a 10-2 run to cut the Bears’ lead to two with 5:30 left in the contest. But a Collins 3-pointer pushed Keith’s lead back to five one minute later.

Southside responded with a 7-0 run capped by Oliver’s jump shot reclaim the lead.

Demarcus Smith led the Panthers with 12 points on the night. Pratt and Gunn finished with 11 each.

D’wan Lewis led the Bears with 11 points.