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Almost exactly a year ago today, Bruton's boys and girls basketball teams learned they would not be playing in the Conference 33 tournament, which was canceled because of a large snowstorm across the region.
The disappointment about not playing for a conference championship lingered through Wednesday evening, when the Panthers were finally able to hoist the Conference 33 championship trophy after routing King William 78-38 on their home court.
"It's very, very satisfying," Bruton Coach Brenner Carter said. "I'm proud to death of this group here."
From the opening tip, it was clear Bruton was going to be a tough matchup for a King William team that struggled to maintain possession and slow down the Panthers on defense.
In the opening minute of the game, the Panthers forced three King William turnovers and scored seven quick points to take a 7-0 lead that whipped the Bruton faithful into a frenzy.
Leading the charge for Bruton in the first half was Zack Calloway, who scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the opening quarter.
While Bruton's offense was able to breeze through King William's defense, the Panthers played lock-down defense against the Cavaliers and limited scoring opportunities.
After taking a 16-7 lead through the first quarter, King William opened the second quarter on a 4-0 run to cut Bruton's lead to five points. The Cavaliers found room inside against Bruton's man-to-man defense in the second quarter, scoring 12 of 15 second-quarter points in the low post.
However, Bruton's defense stepped up its play even more in the second quarter as the Panthers splashed a trio of 3-pointers in the quarter. The Panthers held a 34-22 halftime advantage over King William.
Bruton senior Daniel Jones made sure King William had no chance of coming back in the third quarter, essentially ending the game by himself. Jones, who had 15 points on the night, scored 13 points in the third quarter to help the Panthers blow the game open.
Within the first two minutes of the second half, Bruton strung together a 9-0 run that put the Panthers up 43-22. With King William limited to six points in the quarter, Bruton's lead ballooned to 59-28 by the end of the quarter.
With the game well out of reach for King William, Bruton began slowly substituting reserve players throughout the fourth quarter. The backup players for the Panthers had no trouble closing the game out against King William, which also put in reserve players late in the fourth quarter.
After the final buzzer sounded, Bruton students flooded the court to celebrate with the newly crowned Conference 33 champions.
Up next for Bruton (16-5) is a Friday home game against an opponent yet to be determined in the first round of the Group 2A East tournament.
"Whomever it is better be ready for the pressure," Carter said.
King William: 7 15 6 6 — 38
Bruton: 16 18 25 19 — 78
King William: Leach 7, Bing 8, Mickens 4, Smith 2, Longest 6, Robinson 4, Walter 4, Slaughter 2, S. Parker 1
Bruton: Taylor 6, Jones 15, Carr 10, Calloway 17, Adkins 4, Danek 2, Wallace 5, Dockery 7, Hood 5, Barnes 5, Teach 2
3-point goals: King William 2 (Leach, Longest), Bruton 9 (Carr 2, Calloway 3, Wallace, Dockery, Hood, Barnes)