Score one for the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League in the first of two matchups Friday with the Wichita City League in the McPherson Invitational.
Derby broke a 25-all halftime tie with Wichita North by constantly pounding the paint and getting to the free throw line, 32 times alone after intermission. The Panthers used that inside game to grind out a 57-53 victory in a choppy game punctuated by endless fouls and a furious North rally that shaved a 10-point lead to two in the final 2 minutes.
Derby will play for fifth place at 3:15 p.m. Saturday against the winner of Blue Valley West and Shawnee Mission East.
Nyjee Wright’s basket at the halftime buzzer tied the game for Derby and that seemed to light a fire under the Panthers, who came out strong in the third quarter and never trailed again, though North pulled within 55-53 after being down 50-40.
Wright scored 13 points in the first half and finished with a team-high 23. Teammate Trevor Hall came up with a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Tiylar Cotton led North with 20 points. Hunter Shockley scored 11 and Siquente Price tallied 10.
North will play the 1:30 p.m. seventh-place game on Saturday against the Blue Valley West-Shawnee Mission East.