LaGrange built a large lead, then held off Berry down the stretch for an 85-80 win in the Wingate by Wyndham Classic on Saturday in Mariotti Gym. The Panthers improved to 2-1, while handing the Vikings (4-1) their first loss of the season.
"I'm really proud of the way the guys hung on to the game," Coach Kendal Wallace said. "Last year we gave away so many in the last seconds. That is not the way I would draw it up. I thought we had the game pretty way handled and I thought sometimes we got complacent on defense. We played really good defense for 30 minutes, then the last 10 minutes I was disappointed in how we performed."
Jack McCormack's 3-pointer gave LC a 73-44 lead with 11:10 remaining. McCormack finished the game with a career-high 16 points, 13 coming in the first half. The Panthers led 50-33 at halftime.
The Vikings started chipping away at the Panthers' lead after McCormack's trey. Quinn Atkinson, who led all scorers with 21 points, scored on a layup to make it a three point game, 83-80, with a minute left. Travis Thompson answered for the Panthers with a jumper in the lane to make it 85-80. The Panthers stopped the Vikings on their final three possessions to seal the win.
"We're going to get this thing together, I like my guys the way they play hard and together," said Wallace. "They like each other outside the basketball court and that's very important for chemistry to have a team that really enjoys being around each other and playing."
The Panthers face Birmingham-Southern in their final tournament game Sunday at 6 p.m.