The Saratoga Sun -

‘Toga men get first conference win


Brian Trauwein

Saratoga junior Cameron Collamer protects the ball on offense against Little Snake River Saturday at the Panther Den. Collamer had 7 points and eight rebounds on the night.

The Mens’ Panther basketball team continued their play with a conference road game on Friday night against Southeast and then hosted the Little Snake River Rattlers on Saturday afternoon.

The Saratoga Panthers (5-10) (1-4) played in Yoder against Southeast ( 0-15) (0-3).

Ben Faulk was two rebounds away from a double, double with eight rebounds and 14 points and also came up with two steals. Ben Gates continued to play well scoring 10 points on the night with six rebounds and one steal. Cameron Collamer and Jake Fourman added 13 points between the two players. Collamer with 7 and Fourman putting up 6. Daniel Kerbs and John Brennan both scored 5 points for the Panthers, and Brennan had two rebounds and two steals on the way to beating Southeast 48-46.

The Panthers averaged 46 percent from the free throw line and missed four or five easy layups, but were still able to hold off Southeast’s fourth quarter run.

“The four or five layups would have been another 8 or 10 points, but our guys did well handling the adversity at the end of the game,” head coach Josh Sandlian said.

The men started the fourth quarter up 13 points but Southeast made a good game of it. Saratoga’s missed layups and low free throw percentage let Southeast back into the game.

“Most of our kids don’t have a lot of varsity experience,” Sandlian said. “They don’t have the experience when other teams make a run.”

At the final buzzer, Saratoga’s defense and ball control late in the game were enough to stave off Southeast, giving the Panthers their first conference win.

On Saturday night, the Panther’s hosted Little Snake River (LSRV) who are back-to-back state champions in the 1A class.

Junior Ryan Malone, out with a knee injury, was on the Panther bench for the first time since his surgery to root on his team.

Saratoga played well in the first half of this game but LSRV played a tough press and created quite a few turnovers. The Panther’s defense held tough against good shooting from LSRV and the Panthers were only down 8 points going into the locker room. The Panthers came out for the third quarter fired up. Good offensive rebounding from Daniel Kerbs with follow-up shots that fell and solid points from the free throw line from Fourman and Faulk brought the Panthers to within 4 points at the end of the quarter.

Although the Panthers hung tough with Little Snake River, LSRV continued to shoot well and when the Panthers fouled to stop the clock, LSRV capitalized hitting seven of 10 free throws in that stretch. When time ran out, LSRV was up 10 points, winning 49-59.

“It is again one of those things the kids can learn from to be successful and build experience,” Sandlian said. “This is the closest we have played Little Snake River in the last couple years.”

Next for the Panther basketball team are two road games this coming weekend. Saratoga travels to play Hanna-Elk Mountain-Medicine Bow in Hanna on Friday night and then plays in Big Piney on Saturday.

“We have to go to Hanna and take care of business,” Sandlian said. “Big Piney is in the 2A West so we will see where we stack up in our class on Saturday. We’re pretty close as far as abilities between the two teams go. We should match up well.”


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