Panthers eliminated from playoffs
Prior to the 2013-14 basketball season, Pinewood Prep coach Pat Eidson would have told you he was expecting a great season.
He had an athletic and experienced team returning from last year. He was counting on seniors Reid Radebaugh and Evan Schwartz and junior Austin McCray to lead the team.
Last Saturday, as Pinewood entered the first round of the SCISA AAA playoffs against Ben Lippen from Columbia, he was without all three. Radebaugh briefly appeared in 10 games because of a physical condition. Schwartz had a stress fracture in his foot and season ending shoulder separation and played in only six games. McCray, Pinewood’s leading rebounder and shot blocker, opted to participate in a drama competition and did not play.
Despite the setbacks, the Panthers entered the playoffs with an 18-12 record and second-place finish in the region. They were coming off a 64-62 win over rival Northwood Academy so they felt good about their chances. But it was not meant to be and Pinewood lost to Ben Lippen on Saturday 68-54 to end their season.
Senior Jimmy Thomas led his team in scoring with 21 points. Thomas scored 14 in the fourth quarter to keep the Panthers in the game. Dexter Coaxum had 11 and Michael Wright added 9. Pinewood’s poor shooting from the field (16 of 55) was the deciding factor in the game.
“With all the adversity this team has had to face this year, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the players that hung in there and gave me all they had,” Eidson said. “We ended up playing three freshmen – Michael Wright, Gavin Williams and Nick Gilliard.”
The freshmen can only help the Panthers in the future. Juniors Ahmad Ray and Dexter Coaxum both had strong seasons so Eidson is hopeful for next year’s team.