ASH GROVE, Mo. — The Forsyth boys basketball team moved back to a .500 record on Tuesday night after winning its first round game at the Walnut Grove Holiday Classic.
The Panthers faced No. 15 Niangua as the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
Forsyth had clear control of its game from the tip. The Panthers played a quick tempo that Niangua struggled to keep up with. The Panthers led 19-8 after one quarter. Junior Trevor Huey, who mainly plays as the point guard for Forsyth, led with six points.
The second quarter widened the lead for Forsyth, thanks to eight points from senior Buck Sanders and 12 more points from five other scorers.
The Panthers headed into the locker room with 39-24 lead and held on for the 72-36 win.
Forsyth struggled in the third quarter with sloppy play. The Panthers maintained their high speed, but poor ball handling and rebounding created a mounting frustration for head coach Eric Rogers. He called for a full timeout in the quarter, and chatted with his team. When they all broke from the huddle, there was a different, more relaxed energy about them.
The Panthers, again, continued their high-paced offense for the rest of the game, but dropped off the full-court press after gaining a 30-point lead over Niangua.
The play style seemed to be more fun for the athletes, and it showed in their scoring. Even after Rogers sat his five starters for the rest of the game, those playing earned several minutes with few mistakes.
Despite scoring only seven in the fourth quarter, Forsyth won and moved on to the second round to quarterfinals to play No. 10 Sparta on Saturday, Dec. 26 at 5 p.m.
While Forsyth and Niangua played at Ash Grove High School for the first round, No. 1 Hollister played host to No. 16 Walnut Grove just north.
Hollister moved to 8-1 after a completely dominating performance over Walnut Grove.
The Tigers prevented the host school from scoring at all in the second half, and they went on to win by a season-best 44 points.
They held Walnut Grove to just 13 points in the first half alone. Junior Josh Barlow led the Tigers with 23 of their 57 points.
The Tigers return to Walnut Grove High School to face No. 9 Miller at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 26.
The full Walnut Grove Holiday Classic tournament bracket can be found on the Branson Tri-Lakes News Website.