July 30, 2022
By Morgan Wenger
The Pandas steamrolled through their pool play games in the Young Bucks division, winning all three games by double digit margins. Their game against Team Red went back and forth for awhile before the Pandas pulled away down the stretch for a 30-20 win. Braden West (13 points) and Parker Metsker (11 points) provided most of the scoring punch for the Pandas, while Team Red was led by DeCarlo Prince (9 points) and Leigh Cotton (8 points).
The battle for the second seed on the bracket was much more interesting. Team Red rebounded from their loss to the Pandas with a hard fought 30-24 victory over the Toon Squad. DeCarlo Prince took matters into his own hands in this game, hitting two three pointers and scoring on a variety of other plays en route to a 14-point performance. Kaden Prince led the Toon Squad with nine points in defeat. CCC 30 won their first two games of pool play, 30-25 over the Dalton Rittriders and 30-18 against the Toon Squad. Bryan Martin and Drew Badertscher led the way in scoring for CCC 30. Unfortunately for CCC 30, they ran into the Pandas gauntlet next. The Pandas ran away with a 30-17 win behind Parker Metsker’s 13 points. Bryan Martin led CCC 30 with nine points in a losing effort. DeCarlo Prince continued his strong play with 14 points, all inside the arc this time, to lead Team Red to another hard-fought victory over the Dalton Rittriders. Ryan Harold pitched in 10 points for Team Red to offset a balanced effort for the Dalton Rittriders, led by Dack Mutters’ eight points.
Connor Preattle of the Pandas drives baseline in their semifinal matchup with the Dalton Rittriders
This set up a battle for the second seed on the bracket between Team Red and CCC 30. That battle eventually transformed into a semifinal battle on the court between the two talented teams. Team Red won both battles, winning the tie breaker for the #2 seed on the bracket and dispatching of CCC 30 by a 30-25 count on the court. DeCarlo Prince was simply too much for CCC 30 to handle. Using his size to shoot over defenders and his athleticism to work his way inside for baskets, Prince dashed his way to a 16-point effort to give his team another shot at the top seeded Pandas. The Pandas faced their toughest game of the day in the semifinals against the Dalton Rittriders. The Dalton squad had balanced scoring all day long, and things were no different in this game. Michael Diehl led the way with nine points for the Dalton Rittriders, but the real story was the toughness they displayed defensively in battling the high scoring Pandas. The Pandas had not faced resistance to this degree up till this point, but they were able to meet the challenge and squeak out a 30-24 win and punch their ticket to the championship game. Parker Metsker continued his strong play by scoring 12 points for the winners.
After surviving a semifinal game that was too close for comfort, the Pandas wasted little time in determining the outcome of the championship game. They hit Team Red early and often and completely overwhelmed them by the mid-point of the contest. While receiving scoring contributions from all their players, the blowout ensued because of Parker Metsker’s defense against DeCarlo Prince. Prince had been dominant in most games throughout the day, even scoring nine points against the Pandas in pool play. With Metsker focusing on him heavily, the high scoring Prince was held to just two points in the championship game. Metsker, meanwhile, led his team with 11 points on the offensive side of things with Braden West (nine points), Jonny Graham (6 points), and Connor Preattle (4 points) each getting in on the act for the champions as they ran away with a 30-10 triumph. Ryan Harold led Team Red with six points in defeat.
The Pandas (Connor Preattle, Parker Metsker, Braden West, and Jonny Graham)
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