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Posted: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:29 pm

The Mountain Grove Panthers captured the third place game at the Missouri Class 3 State Tournament with a 69-62 win over Whitfield at Mizzou Arena in Columbia on Friday.

The Panthers took an early lead in the game, and were on top by as many as 14 points before Whitfield took its first lead with 2:29 remaining in the third period. The game had been tied three times before Whitfield took a 47-46 lead. Mountain Grove quickly regained the lead and  were up 51-50 at the end of the quarter.

The Panthers moved out to a four point lead with 6:57 remaining in the game, but Whitfield was able to work their way back and tie it for the sixth time with 3:45 remaining.  Whitfield then took a two point lead, before Cade Coffman cut into the lead with a freethrow. A three point shot by Thomas Clifton with 1:59 remaining gave the Panthers a 62-60 lead which they held for the remainder of the game.

Clifton led the Panther scoring with 17 points in his final game as a Panther.

Mountain Grove held a 39-31 halftime lead, but Whitfield had their biggest quarter in the third period when they outscored the Panthers 19-12.

D.J. McNew had led the first half scoring for Mountain Grove with 13, but he had picked up two personal fouls in the half and fouled out of the game with 6:15 remaining in the final quarter. McNew finished the game with 13 points.

Along with Clifton and McNew, the Panthers had three other players in double figures in the game.

Cade Coffman had 15; Carter Otwell, 12; and Brock Coffman, 11. Hayden Newberry added another Panther point.

The game featured 54 fouls between the teams with 22 Mountain Grove fouls and 32 Whitfield fouls. Both teams lost players to fouls. Otwell also left the game for the Panthers with five fouls, and three Whitfield players fouled out of the game including their leading scorer Torrence Watson who tallied 24 points and left the game with 2:38 remaining.

Thursday afternoon Mountain Grove gave Barstow a scare when they jumped out to a 24-15 first quarter lead. The Panthers had been up by as many as 10 in the quarter behind a strong shooting percentage from the field.

But Barstow was able to come back in the second period and outscore the Panthers, 12-3, in the quarter to tie the game at halftime.

Barstow tacked on a strong third quarter outscoring Mountain Grove, 17-4 to take a  44-31 lead.

The Panthers pulled within nine twice in the final period, but couldn’t close the gap.

Against Barstow, McNew led the scoring with 18. Brock Coffman had 16; Clifton, 7; Cade Coffman, 6; and Otwell, 2.