Stellar season ends for Panthers

Published 12:33 am Saturday, March 4, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

ABILENE, Tex. – In his final collegiate game, Justyn Olson delivered a 29-point performance, but it wasn’t enough to keep LaGrange College from falling to Hardin-Simmons 109-103 in the opening round of the NCAA Division III tournament.

Olson made a fade-away jumper with 1:20 left to give the Panthers a 100-99 lead, but the Cowboys finished the game on a 10-3 run.

Olson, a LaGrange High graduate who enjoyed three successful seasons with the Panthers, was 10-of-17 from the field, and he was 4-of-7 from beyond 3-point range.

Alex Bonner added 18 points for the Panthers, senior Drew Vanderbrook scored 16 points, and Elijah Adedoyin had 14 points.

Jamison McCray came off the bench and scored 13 points.

Nathaniel Jack led Hardin-Simmons with 24 points, and all five members of the starting lineup were in double figures.

The Panthers trailed 58-49 at the half, but they fought back and took a 77-76 lead on a McCray basket with 11 minutes to play.

Hardin-Simmons regained momentum and took a 10-point lead with 7:47 to play, but once again the Panthers got back into the game, and they went up 97-96 on a Bonner free throw with 2:02 to play.

After the Cowboys went up by one, Olson’s basket with 80 seconds left gave the Panthers the lead once again

Duane Hopper made two free throws with 1:04 to play to give the Cowboys a lead, and this time they didn’t give it up.