All-around effort

Panthers rout Navigators despite star forward's absence

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The Panthers trounced the Paul Cuffee Navigators 64-27 on last Thursday night during a Boys Division III Basketball clash at Johnston High School.

Justin Powell, a senior, led the Panthers with 14 points, while Cam Iasimone, a junior, scored 13.

Paul Cuffee was topped by Malachi Williams, a junior guard, who netted 14 points, while Luis Henderson, a freshman forward, contributed 10 points.

The Panthers got the blowout win despite not having their star Tom Zednik, a junior forward, who bruised his hip prior to a game against Davies Career & Technical High School back on Jan. 28.

Johnston had a big matchup on Monday night against undefeated Lincoln and Panthers head coach Ed Bedrosian was sort of using this game to get everybody prepared for that game.

“We were trying to get everybody in there to try to get equal minutes tonight,” Bedrosian said. “Some of these guys haven’t played a lot because our rotation has been about eight guys, so it’s good to get them out there. If Zednik’s injured, we’re going to need everybody ready. So, it was a nice game to get everybody into the action. They all shot the ball pretty well tonight.”

Derek Salvatore, a freshman guard for the Panthers, finished with five points.

“Derek has just come on great as of late,” Bedrosian explained. “He was a big part of our win the other night; he had 16 points against Davies. He’s our second point guard and he rebounds and he’s a very smart player out there. Very unselfish. So, we’re glad to have him. He was a good addition for us this year.”

Johnston was hot out of the gate and took a 20-2 advantage early.

Powell stole the ball and made a layup to start, and then Salvatore capped the run with a 3-pointer from the right wing.

With 1:46 remaining in the first half, Paul Cuffee got within 23-16 when Hernandez made a driving layup, plus a 3ball, and then Williams added three free throws.

Five seconds later, Johnston forward Tom Columbo scored via an old fashioned 3-point play, and then the junior made two free throws and extended the Panthers lead to 28-16.

Next, Hunter Remington sank a 3-ball, and then a layup, and between that, Anthony Angelone hit two free throws, which gave the Panthers a 35-17 advantage heading into halftime.

Johnston started the second half with a 7-0 run, which saw Anthony Tavares hit a corner 3 and Angelone a jump hook, before Powell mixed in a breakaway layup and put Johnston on top 42-17.

With 13:15 left, Remington made a spinning layup, and then Salvatore got a steal and a bucket. That put the Panthers up 46-19.

Three minutes later, Iasimone recorded back-to-backs treys and ballooned the Panthers buffer to 54-23.

With 6:34 left, Jay Canton added a layup, and three minutes later, Jayden Osborne contributed a corner 3-ball and increased the Panthers margin to 59-24.

Iasimone stole the ball and made a breakaway layup after that, and then Osborne buried another 3-point shot and upped the Johnston cushion to 64-24.

Williams stopped the bleeding for Paul Cuffee when he drained a 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining and got the Navigators within 64-27.

On Monday night, Johnston fell at Lincoln 57-45, which dropped the Panthers to 10-2 in the league on the season. The Lions improved to 12-0.

Colombo led the Panthers with 11 points in the contest and Zednik returned to score 10 points.

Next, Johnston hosts Rogers (9-3) on Thursday at 6:30 pm.

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