ROCKFORD — When the basketball doesn't go in the basket it can lead to a very long, frustrating game. That's exactly what happened twice to the United Township boys' basketball team on Monday.
Playing in the Rockford Jefferson MLK Tournament, the Panthers lost to Rockford Guilford 44-38 and then to a very talented Jefferson team 46-33.
What the coaching staff liked, however, was the Panthers' play on defense. The Panthers contained two solid teams.
"Our kids really competed at a high level and I'm really happy with our team effort and our team defense," UT coach Ryan Webber said. "Everything was contested. We just had a lid on the hoop today. It was a matter of us scoring the ball."
In the opener, the Panthers grabbed an early lead and held on into the final quarter, leading 35-30 heading into the final eight minutes. However, one 3-point basket was all the Panthers (8-11) could get as the Vikings rallied for the win.
In the nightcap, a 19-2 Jefferson team got ahead early and the Panthers' inability to make shots kept them from making a run.
"We had too many missed layups and open 3s," Webber said. "I'm very happy with our offensive execution. We played at a high level, but we just lost because the ball wouldn't go in. It didn't help that Guilford was called for five fouls and Jefferson was called for four."
The Panthers took two free throws against Guilford. Izaya Bustos led UT with 10 points and Michael Merrick added nine. Against Jefferson, the Panthers took four free throw attempts with Merrick leading the way again with nine.
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