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Pennfield fends off Coldwater for first conference title since 2003

Panthers clinch a share of Interstate Eight
Pennfield wins first conference title since 2003
Posted at 10:22 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 23:34:20-04
Pennfield 44, Coldwater 41

The Pennfield boys basketball team hosted Coldwater on Tuesday night with a share of the Interstate Eight title on the line.

The Panthers would lead from start to finish of the opening half, extending the lead to eight at the half, 26-18 behind three second quarter triples from junior guard, Aiden Burns.

But in the third quarter, after Pennfield pushed the lead to eleven, Coldwater would go on a run.

Junior guard Brandon Downs would knock down a deep two before Ethan Crabtree found senior guard Spencer Rodesiler who knocked down a triple to give the Cardinals their first lead of the game, 32-31.

After scoring 29 points in the first meeting on February 23, Pennfield senior guard Ryne Petersen would score his first points of the game with 4:15 left to knot the game 38-38.

The Panthers would take a 41-38 lead in the final minute before Downs would answer with another triple to tie the game at 41.

Pennfield would finish the game three-for-four from the charity stripe, including a pair from Ryne Petersen with just three seconds left to help seal the 44-41 win.

Junior guard Aiden Burns cuts down his portion of the net
Pennfield junior guard Aiden Burns cuts a piece of the net after the conference championship.

It's the Panthers first conference championship since 2003 and first title since joining the Interstate Eight seven years ago.

"Our group has been together for a while now and this is everything we've ever wanted was a conference championship and we were able to get that tonight," said Aiden Burns.

Despite the team's leading scorer, Ryne Petersen being held in check with just six points, it was a team effort with Burns and Luke Davis each scoring a team-high 14.

"They came out playing tough defense," Petersen said, "they switched things up in the first half, my teammates were able to get us the lead going into half and I was able to get a few big buckets late to get us the dub."

After dropping both of last season's meetings to the Cardinals, this season's sweep is extra sweet for the Panthers.

"They got us both times last year and we were able to return the favor this year for the conference championship," Petersen added.

The conference crown was topped off by the cutting of the nets and playing of 'One Shining Moment' but head coach Nate Burns didn't let the opportunity go to waste, celebrating by grabbing the rim with two hands in celebration.

Nate Burns celebrates the conference crown
Pennfield boys basketball coach Nate Burns celebrates the conference championship after the 44-41 win over Coldwater.

"Spur of the moment," he laughed, "lets cut it down, I don't get up on ten foot very much, even if it was up on a ladder, it was an opportunity to grab that rim."

While Pennfield clinches a share of the conference crown, they'll look to win it outright on Thursday at Hastings.

And next week in districts, they look to bring home the program's first district crown since 1993.