The junior scored 10 points to go with six rebounds and six assists in the comeback win.
Whitman-Hanson Regional High junior Stevie Kelly is known for his defensive prowess on the soccer field, but he’s making a name for himself on the hardwood at point guard.
Kelly opened up his whole toolbox Friday night and the Panthers needed every bit of it to fend off Patriot League foe Silver Lake, 56-54.
“It was a pretty big win,” Kelly said. “Every Patriot League game is big for us.”
In a fourth quarter that the Panthers (8-2) entered down, 40-37, it was the 5-foot-10 Kelly, who scored five of his 10 points in the final frame to complement six rebounds and six assists on the night, right in the middle of the comeback.
With 7:33 remaining, Kelly drained a triple from the top of the arc, evening the score at 40.
After senior Cole Lewis (10 points) shot the Panthers ahead, 49-47, with a pair of 3-pointers, the Lakers (3-5) would pull even before Kelly passed to a streaking Rian Schwede inside the lane and he laid it in for two.
Clinging to a one-point lead late, Kelly jump cut into the lane for two, giving the Panthers a 55-52 lead, which was enough.
“He’s a tenacious player for sure,” said W-H head coach Bob Rodgers of Kelly. “He really gets after it. He’s a tremendous defender and a great leader on the floor. He had some big buckets for us down the stretch.”
With the help of six points in the first quarter from sophomore Cole LeVangie (team-high 16 points), the Panthers jumped out to a 18-10 lead after one.
The Lakers proceeded to outscore W-H, 18-8, in the following quarter to claim a 28-26 halftime edge.
Kelly sparked the Panthers out of halftime, motoring to the hoop for two, while picking up a foul in the process. His free throw put the Panthers up, 29-28.
Later in the frame, Kelly drove into the lane and kicked it out to a wide-open Ben Rice on the right side, who drained a three, giving the Panthers a 37-35 lead.
“It helps (me) with all the shooters we have,” Kelly said. “They work really hard in the offseason.”
The Panthers will visit Hanover next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
“We just got to get tougher around the hoop and play harder,” Kelly said.