Honor... Chuck Mericle, center, was honored February 25 at the Oak Grove/Grain Valley varsity doubleheader for his work with the Oak Grove Youth Basketball Association. Mericle spent countless hours over the last four years setting up gymnasiums, coaching, scheduling games and officials and going the extra mile to provide a basketball environment for everyone in Oak Grove's and Grain Valley's youth associations.
Mericle is pictured with Oak Grove head boys coach Tyler Hames, left, and Oak Grove head girls coach, Michael Cox.
Panthers get back in the win column
Oak Grove snapped a four-game losing streak February 20 with a 47-39 win over Excelsior Springs. Lady Panthers put Excelsior Springs in a hole in the first half by taking a 26-12 lead to the locker room. Lady Tigers put a dent in the deficit in the second half but never threatened to take the lead.
"I thought we played really well on the defensive end of the floor in the first half by holding them to just 12 points," said head coach Michael Cox. Read more in Focus on Oak Grove.
Panthers fall in a defensive battle
Oak Grove boys basketball team hosted Grain Valley February 25, and the game was played like a rivalry game should be played. Panthers held a 12-6 lead after one quarter of play before the Eagles fought back to make it a 20-19 Oak Grove lead at half. Third quarter was costly to the Panthers, though. Oak Grove was outscored 11-1 in the third to make the fourth an uphill battle. Eagles held off Oak Grove and prevailed 42-38.
"This was a real defensive game," said head coach Tyler Hames. "We knew coming into this game Grain Valley was tough to score on. I think we were ready to play. We had a strong start to the game with a 12-2 run. Grain Valley did a good job of driving the ball at us and getting to the free throw line to get back into the game. What killed us, though, was that third quarter. You just can't win big games by only scoring one point in a quarter. We were getting good shots in the third and fourth. They just weren't falling. I was proud of our guys for fighting and getting back in the game. We could have caved, and we didn't." Read more in Focus on Oak Grove.
Panthers defeat Marshall to win season finale 54-48
Oak Grove defeated Marshall 54-48 February 27 to put a period on the regular season.
Panthers got an 18-point, 14-rebound performance out of Austin Blackston in the win. Aaron Graham scored 12 points and grabbed three rebounds. Tanner Kanak and Tyler Adams each netted six to help the Panthers finish 10-14 overall heading to the district tournament.
"This was probably our most efficient game offensively," said head coach Tyler Hames. "We really took high percentage shots and shared the ball. We shot 63% from two-point field goal range and had 17 assists. When you do that, you give yourself a chance."
Oak Grove's 28-23 halftime lead grew to 43-30 by the start of the fourth. The Owls cut into that deficit in the final quarter but couldn't contain the Panthers' offense. Read more in Focus on Oak Grove.
Lady Panthers end regular season with loss to Eagles
Oak Grove Lady Panthers wrapped up the regular season February 25 with a 52-40 loss at home to Grain Valley. Scoring droughts in the second and fourth quarters put the Lady Panthers behind the eight ball.
After taking a 17-14 lead to the second quarter, Oak Grove scored only five points over the final eight minutes of the first half to trail 29-22 at the break. Lady Panthers managed to make it a six-point contest by the start of the fourth, but went cold again, putting just four points on the board to let the Lady Eagles pull away. Read more in Focus on Oak Grove.