Cheltenham Panthers’ Tipoff Tournament
Cheltenham 75, Executive Charter 63
If the Panthers are looking to keep the community spirit alive after the football team’s historic run to the state title game, they’re off to a great start, defeating Executive Charter Sunday night to capture the title of their own tournament
“The excitement our school has been through going to the state championship and the year they’ve had – our kids are really proud of where they’re from, so right now they’re playing with a passion and a purpose,” coach Patrick Fleury said. “It’s beautiful to see because they realize it’s more than just them, so they can definitely galvanize the community as long as we stay together. We’re going to keep doing exactly what we’re doing, which is caring for one another and just playing hard.”
Making Sunday’s win ever more impressive, the Panthers did it without three players - including Saint Francis commit Zahree Harrison - in their lineup.
“The best thing for us to see with Zahree Harrison, Mike McClain and Justin Savage out with injuries – the team pulled together,” Fleury said. “I think we saw growth in pretty much everybody.”
The Panthers once again received contributions up and down their lineup. Brandon Scott, who scored a team-high 15 points, was one of five Panthers to finish the game in double figures. Saleem Payne contributed 13 points and three assists. Justin Moore and Jaelen McGlone both added 12 points. Moore had a team-high six assists and McGlone had five. Sean Emfinger had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“Sean is really coming into his own,” Fleury said. “Brandon Scott has been so steady for us. He’s our Swiss Army knife.
“We had five guys in double figures and one guy with eight (Travis Coleman). I think that they trust and love one another. Defensively, we have to be better.”
The Panthers trailed by 18-13 after one quarter, and although they put 21 points on the board in the second – ignited by nine points from Emfinger, they did not gain any ground and still trailed 39-34 at halftime.
The second half was another story. They outscored their visitors 21-12 in the third quarter and took a 55-51 lead into the fourth quarter whem they added to their lead. Payne scored all 13 of his points in the second half, and he was a perfect 6-for-6 at the foul line in the fourth quarter.
Cheltenham (2-0) will host Penn Wood in a non-league contest Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Executive Charter 18-21-12-12 63
Cheltenham 13-21-21-20 75
Executive Charter (63) – Wilkins 10, Way 5, Torres 5, Magee 4, Schonk 3, Mills 17, Muniz 17.
Cheltenham (75) – Travis Coleman 8, Brandon Scott 15, Justin Moore 12, Saleem Payne 13, David Pope 2, Jaelen MGlone 12, Sean Emfinger 11, Frank Saintildor 2.