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June 16, 2008

Gauchos down Panthers to win Rumble

The Gauchos shook off a tumultuous afternoon on Sunday to grab the Rumble in the Bronx tournament championship, scoring a 76-63 victory over the NY Panthers in the deciding game.

Playing sans forward Taaj Ridley - who was injured in the teams' semifinal game - the Gauchos put away the stubborn Panthers with a 44-point explosion in the second half.

The Panthers, behind some dominant play from forward Kevin Parrom, appeared to be an even match for the Gauchos early. A three-pointer by Durand Scott put the Gauchos up 12-11, but Parrom immediately responded with a three of his own.



Scott was fouled shooting a three and canned all three freebies, but Parrom again answered, this time with a baby hook in transition and a pair of free throws, making it 18-15 Panthers.

At that point, the Gauchos got a significant momentum boost from an unlikely source, as unheralded forward Trevon Hamlet scored eight straight points to put the Gauchos on top by five. Parrom and forward Josh Malone pushed the Panthers back ahead by combining to go on an 8-2 run, but the Gauchos closed out the half strongest.

Doron Lamb splashed a three for the Gauchos, and after Panthers guard Rashawn Stores missed the front end of a one-and-one, Scott hit two more free throws. Guard Sean Johnson then converted a fast break lay-up before the break to put the Gauchos ahead 32-26.

Lamb coolly dropped in a three to open the second half, stretching the lead to nine, but a mid-range pull-up jumper by guard Omari Lawrence eventually brought the Panthers within 37-32. That, however, was as close as the Panthers would get the rest of the way.

The Gauchos tore off on 12-4 run - capped by a fast break lay-up from guard Russ Smith -- to go ahead 49-36.

Guard Reynaldo Walters - scoreless in the first half -- hit three three-pointers to trim the Gaucho advantage to 54-48, then after a brief Gaucho run, William Harrison hit a three to make it 62-55. Down the stretch, however, the deep Gauchos wore down the Panthers to clinch the championship.

Lamb led the Gauchos with 17 points, while center Dan Jennings added 16. Parrom, after dropping 16 points in the first half, finished with just 20. Walters chipped in 14 as well for the Panthers.

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