Berea edged LaGrange 50-48 in a USA South game Saturday in Mariotti Gym. The loss left the Panthers 11-11 overall and 5-8 in conference play.
"Really tough loss today against Berea. I thought we played well and did everything in order to win, it just didn't happen," Coach Lee Buchanan said. "I am disappointed so much for our players. They have played their hearts out against the top two teams in our league and have lost by a total of 5 points.
"Today our defense was solid all day and we had great effort on that end of the floor. We struggled on the offensive end today but still had a chance to win the game in the end. The game came down to them making two more free throws than us, everything else was very even. We will keep working and playing with effort and energy and good luck will hopefully follow."
LC trailed 23-19 at halftime. Berea held the Panthers scoreless the first five minutes of the third period to open up a 32-19 lead. Trailing 35-24, the Panthers closed out the period with a 10-0 run to get within a point. Daijah Cousins sparked the run with three steals, an assist, and a layup.
Berea maintained its hold of the lead in the final quarter and led 47-41 with 45 seconds left. Cousins hit a jumper, then Riley Chlupacek stole the inbounds pass and drained a 3-pointer to make it 47-46. Trailing 50-48, the Panthers had one more chance but Cousins' layup at the buzzer was off the mark.
The Panthers host Maryville on Sunday for Senior Day. Game time is 2 p.m.