By Bill Bray
FREMONT – The Fremont Ross Little Giants’ Men’s Basketball team returned to home action Friday night where they hosted the Toledo Whitmer Panthers in a Three Rivers Athletic Conference Battle. When the smoke cleared, Ross had fallen in a hard fought 69-63 verdict.
After falling behind early 3-2, the Little Giants (4-8, 1-6) roared to a 11-0 run to build a 19-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter. It was the senior quartet of, Anthony Vann, Carter Rodriguez, Ayden Carter, and Adam Hrynciw who contributed to the first quarter run. Vann led the charge connecting on two three pointers during the stretch.
After a three-ball from another senior, Mason Durnwald, the Giants saw their lead escalate to 17 points at 22-5 as the second quarter began. By the time the half ended, however, the Panthers overcame their cold shooting and closed the gap to just a nine-point deficit as the halftime score read Fremont Ross 35, Toledo Whitmer 26.
After two 3’s from Whitmer (8-4, 6-1) and another bucket off a steal, the Panthers were right back in the contest at 37-35. They tied the game at 40-40 at the 5:22 mark of the third period as they climbed to the top of the hole, they had dug for themselves early on.
The 40-40 tie was broken off a Whitmer steal followed by a three-point goal and yet two more points off a Ross turnover. By the end of the third period Whitmer had taken a 57-46 advantage.
The fourth quarter began with a 3-pointer by Rodriguez to make it an eight-point game at 57-49. Ross, thanks in larger part to Rodriguez, Carter and Vann scrapped their way back into the game as Carter’s make made it a 65-60 game. The Little Giants stayed close the rest of the way but could not overtake the Panthers as Whitmer escaped from the “Purple Pit” a 69-63 winner.
“I’m proud of our effort and the improvement we showed against the top team in tour league,” coach John Cahill said. “Obviously not happy with the result, but excited for the second half of the season.”
Antione West, the TRAC’s leading scorer, led his team pouring in 32 points. The Whitmer star was the key to their come from behind win. He scored 15 third quarter points to go with four more in the fourth period.
Carter, the second leading scorer in the TRAC, led his Purple and White legions with 20 points. Rodriguez contributed with 14 points and Vann ended the night with 10 points.
Ross gets a bit of a breather now until Friday when they travel to Toledo St. Francis.