Panthers hold on in league opener

Benton senior Jai Peters, right, goes up for a bucket in a 58-55 Panther win over the Watson Chapel Wildcats Tuesday at Benton Arena. Peters finished with 18 points, hitting 10 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. GREG DAVIS/Special to The Saline Courier
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

The Benton Panthers won their fourth straight game in holding on to a 58-55 victory over the Watson Chapel Wildcats Tuesday night at Benton Arena to open 6A/5A blended district play. The Panthers improve to 10-2 on the season, 1-0 in blended play and head to White Hall on Friday in more league action.
On Tuesday, it was all about free throws for the Panthers as they went 14 of 15 in the fourth quarter and 16 of 17 in the second half to ward off the Wildcats. Senior Jai Peters went 10 for 10 from the line in the fourth quarter, not scoring a bucket in the second half, and finished with a team-high 18 points.
“That’s a teaching point and a coaching point,” Benton Coach Dexter Hendrix said of the made free throws. “Last Tuesday night at Bryant, if we would have made some free throws, we would have come out on top; just a week ago. And (Tuesday), of course this game means so much more as far as conference play, that’s something from last week we learned and got better at and it paid off making free throws down the stretch like we did. We’re very proud of that.
“Jai Peters stepped to the line and went 10 for 10 in the fourth quarter like that, that’s exactly what you want to see out of your senior point guard. Not just him, but Sawyer Oulch hit two big free throws. That gives him a lot of confidence.”