Odessa, TX – The Mojo Machine continues to roll as the Panthers picked up a 70-39 win over Midland Lee on Friday night. The District 2-6A home opener showcased Permian’s dominating defense and the Rebels’ youthful growing pains.
In Nakavieon White’s absence, Mojo unleashed the one-two punch of junior guard Shy Stephens-Deary and senior Keyonta Johnson. The pair alone accounted for 39 points, matching the output of Lee’s total score. Stephens-Deary finished the night with a game-high 25 points.
Head coach Tim Thomas was pleased with the effort and thought the Panthers played terrific team basketball. He noted, “We had 20 assists on offense. And, we came out with good intensity and played team defense extremely well.”
While scoring less than their non-district average of 19 first quarter points, the Panthers paced themselves early with Stephen-Deary and J.J. Vizcaino leading the charge. On the other end of the court, Permian’s defense lived up to its stingy reputation. Mojo sat on a 12-6 lead by the end of the opening period.
Stephens-Deary and Johnson added six points each in Permian’s 15-point second frame. For Midland Lee things were not so productive. The Rebels ran into a Mojo brick wall that limited them to a mere three points. Jase Taylor maintained his presence in the paint, while Cedric Baty constantly jammed the perimeter. The Panthers enjoyed a 27-9 halftime lead with plans to build on that lead in the second half.
Stephens-Deary added another 10 points to lead the Mojo Machine in the third stanza. Vizcaino and Johnson played support in a 20-point quarter, while the Rebels could only score half that to trail 47-19. Zay Pierce, Sammy Garcia, and Calvione Calicutt stepped in and kept the defensive pressure on the visitors from Midland. Race Herr made his varsity debut and dropped in a bucket and made two free throws.
With the 70-39 victory, the Panthers improve their season record to 19-2 and 1-0 in district. Permian will play the first of two crosstown rivalry games with OHS next Tuesday at the Odessa High Gymnasium. Tip-off is slated for 7:30.
| Mid Lee
C Romero 4 3-7 11, S Davis 3 3-6 9, E Maxwell 2 0-0 5, Mahkilyn Young 1 2-4 4, Elijah Nunez 2 0-0 4
S Stephens-Deary 12 3-6 25, K Johnson 7 0-0 14, J Vizcaino 4 0-0 8, J Taylor 3 1-2 7
3-Point FG: PER – 1 (Stephens-Deary 1) | LEE – 2 (Maxwell 1, Johnson 1)
Free Throws: PER – 9 of 15 (60%) | LEE – 9 of 19 (47%)
Team Fouls: PER – 16 | LEE – 12