MARYVILLE, Tenn. - LaGrange's season ended with an 89-78 loss to Maryville in the first round of the USA South Tournament on Tuesday. The Panthers finished the season 13-13.
"Tonight was a great effort by both teams. We just came up on the wrong end of the scoreboard," Coach Kendal Wallace said. "Maryville is a good basketball team with a great coach. I'm very proud of my guys responding to a tough situation. We were the only two teams in the conference to to play Sunday and since we lost Sunday, we had to stay in Maryville for two extra days, playing six games in nine days. No other conference in the country does that and we were the only team in th conference that had to do that."
Senior guard Alex Bonner had a game-high 24 points in his final LC game. Bonner finished his career with 1,348 points, good for 13th on the school's career points list. He also had 542 career rebounds. Bonner was the ninth Panther to have 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career. He led the team and was third in the conference with a 19.2 points per game average this season. Jamison McCray had 17 points, and Gary Bishop added 15 off the bench.
"Alex Bonner is one of the greatest players to wear the Red and Black," said Wallace.
Jack McCormack's 3-pointer gave LC a 15-7 lead seven minutes into the game. Maryville (20-6) came back to take a 45-34 halftime lead. In the second half, the Scots led by 13 in the early going. But the Panthers came back and Travis Thompson's three-point play with 10:58 left made it a five-point game, 58-53. The Scots pushed their lead back to double digits and the Panthers got within 10 three times, the last on Bonner's layup with 4:56 left.
"In the game, we played well but couldn't refrain from fouls. We had two guys foul out and four others with four fouls," Wallace pointed out. "They shot 44 free throws to our 27, and we are an attacking team. That and our lack of ability to rebound was the difference in the game. Our season didn't go as planned as we lost six out of our 13 games by a total of 16 points."
"I'm very proud of how our seniors performed this season and even prouder of the young men they have become since entering our program," said Wallace. "They've won two USA South Tournament championships and three NCAA appearances on the court as well as two NABC Team Excellence awards for their work in the classroom. They have represented our program and institution with the highest of standards. They are also very fun to be around. I love those guys. Go Panthers!"