There is nothing the Panthers should hang their heads over. Though they missed an opportunity to bring home the state title, the prospect of the program’s future is something people should be excited about.
The Holliston Panthers’ season ended March 2 at Concord Carlisle, when they lost to the Patriots 80-71 in a non-conference playoff game. The game was close throughout, and the Panthers even led at halftime 33-31. But the Patriots began to pull away at the end of the third and into the fourth and sent the Panthers home with a nine point playoff loss.
The players were “disappointed,” said assistant coach Joel Bernstein.
The team had high aspirations this year and fell short of achieving that goal. They started the season 10-1 with big wins against rivals Westwood Wolverines, 75-71, and Medway Mustangs, 68-60. However, they spent the rest of the season stumbling, going 3-4 in their final seven games. Two of those losses came against Westwood, 71-39, and Medway, 66-48. These teams were the eventual winners of the Tri Valley League championship as they both had 14-3 conference records.
The Panthers were in control of the TVL but failed to seal the league in the final stretch of the season. The loss to Medway in the season finale deflated the team. Had they been able to win that game they had a chance to be crowned co-champions with Westwood.
“The locker room was completely dead,” said Emile Exilhomme, a key rotational player in Galster’s big men group.
The Panthers had a quick turnaround from a major disappointment. They had games on back to back days following the week they lost to Medway. They hosted Natick and Framingham, both division one teams. They defeated Natick Redhawks on February 19, 76-67. The next day the boys came together once again and beat the Framingham Flyers 79-71. The team had successfully overcome the adversity of a heartbreaking loss to grow stronger.
The team was feeling confident going into the playoff game against the Concord Carlisle Patriots. However, the game did not end how they expected it to.
Though the season ended in disappointment, there is a great immediate future for this team. Only three seniors are leaving. The best player is a sophomore, and has two years to grow and mature to become even better. With the core of the team returning and the talent that is coming up through the system, there is plenty cause for excitement for the future of the program.