Cayuga defense to strong for Panthers

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Feb. 24, 2007 - CANTON - The North Hopkins Panthers could not find an answer for the fast paced Cayuga Wildcats in the area round of the Class A., Div. I playoffs Friday night at Eagle Gymnasium.

Cayuga sent North Hopkins packing with a 73-45 win to advance to regional quarterfinals against the winner between the Beckville/Bloomburg winner early next week.

The Panthers (18-15) were led in scoring by freshman Jy'Darius Hawkins, who scored 13 points to go along with five steals, two rebounds and one assist, and scored 11 points in the fourth quarter on 4-of-5 shooting.

Teammate Steven Crocker scored 10 points to go along with two rebounds and two assists in his final game as a Panther.

Cayuga (22-9) relied on a run-and-gun style of offense to disrupt the Panthers and helped the cause as North Hopkins committed 27 turnovers on the night with 16 steals coming from the Wildcats.

Darnell Walker led Cayuga with a game-high 14 points, six steals, four rebounds and one assist, while Caleb Summerville scored 11 points, four rebounds, two steals and two assists. Malcome Kennedy also pitched in nine points for the Wildcats.

NH fell behind by an early 4-0 deficit as Summerville scored the first four points on an offensive putback and two free throws before North Hopkins scored with four minutes remaining.

Senior Rickey Willis scored on an offensive putback following a North Hopkins timeout - and finished his final game with seven points, five rebounds and one steal.

Cayuga countered with Jordan Holly in the first quarter as he scored six of the Wildcats' 13 first-quarter points and capped it off with a offensive putback with eight seconds left for a 13-8 first quarter advantage.

North Hopkins was able to get to within six at 16-10 early in the second quarter on a layup by Crocker, but then Cayuga rattled off six straight points to put the lead back into double figures at 22-10 with 6:04 remaining.

In the middle quarters, the Wildcats defense held North Hopkins under 10 points in each quarter with the Panthers turning the ball over 14 times and shooting 7-of-24 during those quarters.

Cayuga shot 28-of-62 (45 percent) from the field, compared to 18-of-51 (35 percent) for North Hopkins and out-rebounded the Panthers 40-25 - with a 14-7 advantage on the offensive glass. The Wildcats also shot 14-of-30 from the charity stripe compared to 4-of-11 for the Panthers.

Notes: All 12 players for Cayuga scored in the game. ... North Hopkins won District 18-A, Div. I under first-year head coach Matt Rager. ... Cayuga held a 36-17 lead at the half and a 58-25 lead after three quarters. ... North Hopkins never led in the contest and trailed by as many as 30 points in the third quarter.

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