The Benicia Panthers Varsity Basketball Team began SCAC league play on Friday night against the reigning league champion Vanden Vikings. The game was tied going into the 4th quarter, but the Panthers came up short after a hard fought effort.
Vanden started the game strong by outscoring Benicia 20-14 in the 1st quarter. Vanden guard Thomas Avent ended the quarter with a fadeaway buzzer beater near the top of the key. The Vikings continued controlling the game in the 2nd quarter and went into halftime with a 37-28 lead.
The Panthers needed a spark to keep up with Vanden in the 3rd quarter, and they got just that from Trey Pugh. Pugh caught on fire in the 3rd, hitting deep 3s and tough shots. His 13 3rd quarter points put the Panthers back in the game, and the 2 teams were tied at 47 heading into the final quarter.
After scoring 19 3rd quarter points, Benicia’s offense went cold in the 4th quarter. They only put up 2 points on the scoreboard in the first 4 minutes of the period, and Vanden had built a lead that was too large to overcome at that point. The Panthers would lose the league opener 64-56.
Pugh finished the game with 30 points. Peter Koenen also had a solid game for Benicia, as he scored 14 points. Guards Thomas Avent and Pheonix Shackelford were the standouts for Vanden.
Benicia’s next SCAC league matchup is on Tuesday, January 19 at Fairfield High School. Their next home game is against Vallejo High School on Tuesday, January 26.
By Nick Cillo