Feb. 24—ATHENS — The Palestine Wildcats season came to an end Tuesday night on the floor of Athens' Gymnasium following their 58-47 loss against the Waco La Vega Pirates.
The Wildcats entered this Class 4A-Region III bi-district match as the underdogs against a Pirates team who had won four of their last fives games entering the contest.
Elvin Calhoun got things rolling early with the first points of the contest on a contested layup. The Pirates responded with a quick 6-0 run — holding Palestine to just two points until the 2:30 mark when D'Mauris Sessions gave Palestine their second score of the game.
Both sides continued to exchange baskets over the final two minutes. Carlton Wiggins scored five of the Wildcats final seven points on a needed corner three and a buzzer-beater jump shot from the left wing.
Still, La Vega maintained a 13-11 lead entering the second quarter,
Palestine was once again the first team to strike to open a quarter. Chris Bryant tied the game at 13 on a bank shot from the free throw line.
And to remain on trend the Pirates rattled off anotherr 6-0 run to reclaim control of the game. A pair of free throws from D'Myzean Martin sat the score at 19-15 with 5:45 left until half.
La Vega did its best to fend off the Wildcats, but Class 4A-District 17's fourth seed continue to press — eventually tieing the game at 21 and again at 26 on a right corner three from Jarrod Walker.
Split free throws and a made three with 3.2 seconds on the clock earned La Vega a 30-26 lead heading into halftime.
Eight different players had tallied a basket in the first half, but still struggled to find a consistent offensive rhythm.
Palestine opened the second half outscoring the Pirates 6-2 to tie the game at 32. From there, La Vega went on a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 39-34.
Palestine failed to make up much ground in the final few minutes of the third quarter as they trailed 46-39 going into the fourth.
Offensive woes continued to stay with the Wildcats. Taj'Shawn Wilson attempted to will his team back into the game as he scored their first six points to open the quarter.
After his brief barrage of baskets was done, the Pirates held Palestine to just two points in the final two minutes of the game to secure their bi-district championship.