The quest for perfection is over.
Derby erased a double-digit deficit with a lengthy second half run to upend No. 2 Salina South, 74-68, Friday night in Derby. The Panthers improved to 7-6 overall, 4-4 in AVCTL-I action while the handing the Cougars their first loss of the season. South dropped to 13-1, 6-1 in league action.
Both teams are used to playing fast. And that’s what the two squads accomplished in the first quarter.
Salina South trailed 6-2 early, but erased the four-point hole with a 14-4 spurt to grab a 16-8 advantage. South stretched the lead to nine points with the help of sophomore Te’Jon McDaniel, who scored nine of his career-high 14 points in the first period.
Derby fought back within five in the ensuing quarter. However, South ballooned the margin back out to nine, 41-32, by intermission.
Salina South kept Derby out of striking distance for a good chunk of the third. Then, after snagging a 12-point lead, it all vanished.
Derby flipped the switch by logging the last 11 points of the third. That eventually turned into a 26-5 explosion, giving the Panthers a 67-58 cushion in the fourth.
Fontaine Williams poured in 22 points for Derby. Amari Thomas added 19. Jameer Clemons chipped in 12.
To go with his 14 points, McDaniel pulled down 14 rebounds. Junghans paced the Cougars with 16 points. Josh Jordan recorded 15 points.
DERBY 45, SOUTH 26
Salina South didn’t shy away from the challenge of facing No. 8 Derby on the road.
Ultimately, the firepower was too much.
The Panthers used height to their advantage as Derby scored the majority of its points off offensive rebounds. South countered with a couple threes. Kalysa Hamel’s second triple pulled the Cougars within three at the end of the quarter, 13-10.
Derby started the second on a 9-0 run and didn’t look back, en route to a 29-15 halftime advantage. However, Salina South trimmed the margin to 11 points in the third and then 12 in the fourth once the margin stretched back out to 14.
Addy Brown scored a game-high 23 points for Derby. South’s Hamel led the Cougars with nine.
Salina South returns to Salina Tuesday to host Campus. Pregame at 5:45 on Y93.7.