Column: Panthers need key wins to remain in playoff mix

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Varsity boys put on a hard fight against Grand Prairie at DHS on Jan. 28, 2014. (Mireya Ibarra photo)
Varsity boys put up a hard fight against Grand Prairie at DHS on Jan. 28, 2014. (Mireya Ibarra photo)

Sitting in a tied position with South Grand Prairie in 7-5A one of the toughest boys districts in Texas, the Panthers basketball team has enjoyed a pretty good season so far. The problem is to maintain the second place spot requires the Panthers to finish strong with possibly the toughest final schedule of games. A loss Tuesday night to Grand Prairie didn’t help their case much since they have the Number 1 and Number 3 teams in the state coming up next week.

In a game that should have been a win for the Panthers, they had weak perimeter defense and gave up too many open jumpers. This cost them in the end to drop their second district loss to Grand Prairie 47-46. This places Grand Prairie only one game behind the Panthers in the Playoff picture at 6-4 with only two games left on their schedule.

A higher placing in this district is a very important factor if the team wants to make a big playoff run. With Desoto rolling ahead with a 22-3 record, Duncanville needs to string together a few more wins to finish regular season in a good spot. They will have to put together better offensive numbers and work better on the defensive side with DeSoto and South Grand Prairie coming to town next week.

The offense isn’t as explosive as it needs to be. With big man Omar Sherman leading the team in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game along with 8 rebounds, they need to see more players making open jump shots and contested layups. Duncanville is averaging just 51 points per game which won’t get the team far in a division like this one or in a State full of powerhouse teams.

Matthew McQuaid, arguably the best player in the district, ranked Number 6 in the Top Midland Recruits by ESPN for the Class of 2015, is averaging just 11 points per game. He is a great defensive player, but if he can get his offensive numbers up, this team could go great places.

Duncanville is in the hunt and on the prowl for a top playoff spot from District 7-5A. They will however have to put together a better game than the one against Grand Prairie to maintain one of the top three spots in District 7-5A over the next three weeks.