Panthers squeak by east side foe

Its off to the east side of St. Paul for a matchup between the hosts Community of Peace and Mounds Park Academy.  My first time at Community of Peace.   Tons of peaceful words on the walls and a tiny set of bleachers on 1 side.  But both sides got into for this close one, including the benches leading the cheers.  While these aren't the 2 most talented teams, a spirited battle with passionate fans in a tiny gym is always a nice little gem to have on the schedule.

Mark Miller with a pair of buckets in a 10-0 Mounds Park run.  That gives the Panthers a 12-4 lead at the 12:30 mark.  Soph Marquez Perry 6 straight Tigers points to pull CPA within 20-13 at the 5 minute mark.  Frosh Edward Milton picks up from there with a putback and a 3.  MPA frosh Brendan Connolly with an effective half as well.  Mounds Park takes a 27-24 lead to the half.

The teams trade buckets to start the half before a 7-0 run thanks to soph Cole Montour scoring the 1st 4 and then a Connolly bomb.  36-26 MPA just over 2 minutes into the second half.  CPA would hang around thanks to the play of senior J'Son Freeman.  He scores 7 straight CPA points slashing to the rim and getting to the foul line.  Perry buries a 3 to tie and then scores again for the lead.  Freeman ends the run with a free throw.  45-42 CPA with 5:46 left after a 13-1 run.  Mounds Park Academy counters with a big triple and Miller ends the 8-0 run with an offensive board for a free throw.  50-45 MPA with 2:53 left.

Perry misses a front end but Freeman grabs that and makes 2 free throws.  MPA misses with 2 minutes left.  Perry fouled and misses another front end but Freeman cleans up it again.  50-49 MPA with 1:46 left.  MPA turns it over on their possession and Freeman grabs his own miss and makes 2 free throws for the lead with 1:16 left.  MPA scores with a minute left and they're up 1.  After a CPA timeout, Perry drives for 2 and CPA is back on top.  Miller sticks back a miss with 25 seconds left to put MPA up.  Perry speeds back the other way and is called for the charge with 17.4 left.  MPA gets away with a walk on the possession but Miller misses the front end with 11.3 left.  CPA gets 1 last chance.  They attack the basket but the shot is no good with 2 seconds left and time runs out.  Mounds Park Academy hangs on for a 54-53 win.

Great work by the fans on both sides with the defense chants whenever their team had to get a stop during the frenetic last 2 minutes of play.  J'Shon Freeman carried the 2nd half offense and soph Marquez Perry went for right around 20.  Freeman with all but 2 of his points in the 2nd half.  Frosh Brendan Connolly is a nice shooting lefty for Mounds Park.  The Panthers play a super young lineup (1 senior with all sophs and 1 frosh).  Senior Mark Miller leads the Panthers with a well-rounded outing 13 pts, 7 rebs, 8 ast and 5 steals on the Mounds Park stat sheet.  Smart move by coach Hartman late to go 4 low and let him create their offense.

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