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Bogan 6-foot-7 senior Juwan Savage did a lot of positive things for most of Tuesday’s Public League Playoff opener against DuSable. The one thing he struggled with early on was free throws --missing his first three in the second half.
Naturally, when the Panthers had to foul late in the game, Savage was their player of choice. It turned out to be a bad one. Savage calmly nailed his last three free throws and the Bengals were able to hold on for a 67-58 win.
“That motivated me,” said Savage, who finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and eight blocks. “I’ve been working on my free throws a lot in practice.”
The Bengals (15-8), who finished third in the rigid Red-South, will play the winner of Hyde Park and Collins. Juwan Henry had a team-high 19 points, while Luwane Pipkins added 13.
Chris Galbreath Jr. had a game-high 29 points to go with eight rebounds and four steals for the Panthers (10-10). Malik Williams added 12 points and two steals before fouling out with 5:16 left and his team trailing 56-46.
“We just don’t know how to close a game,” DuSable coach Theo Williams said. “We had nine turnovers in the third quarter alone -- you can’t win like that.”
The actual turnover count was 10 in the third and 22 for the game. The Panthers took their first lead of the game 38-37 in the third quarter on a three-pointer by Galbreath. The Bengals answered with a 17-4 run to regain the lead for good 54-42 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Panthers closed within 62-55 with 2:45 left on another three by Galbreath, his second of the game. But would get no closer.
“It wasn’t pretty,” Bogan coach Arthur Goodwin said. “DuSable is a scrappy team and we knew that coming in. We have seven losses against ranked teams. We have to keep getting more out of our big guys.
“Every game we lost our big guys didn’t produce but tonight they produced.”
Six-7 senior Donrell Whitaker complemented Galbreath in the front court with eight points in the first half off the bench for the Bengals.