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Panthers Improve To 12-2; SNC Top Seed

State-rated Fillmore Central improved to 12-2 on the season with wins at Tri County on Friday and at home against Lincoln Christian on Saturday.
The Panthers, ranked No. 6 in wildcard points in Class C-2, simply blew the 4-11, Class C-1 Crusaders out of the gym on January 23.  FC owned the first quarter 22-10 and also dominated the second period, 18-11, to lead the contest 40-21 at halftime.  Substituting freely throughout the second half, the Panthers outscored their opponents 38-24 in the second half to cruise to the 78-45 victory.
Leyton Hopken was 11-for-14 from the floor for FC and scored a game-high 27 points.  The senior forward/guard also snagged eight boards and dished out two assists, along with causing a couple of steals and making two blocks.  Noah Temme and Adam Hoarty both netted 10 points for the winners.  Temme added three assists to his stat line and Hoarty had one.  Tanner Ourada scored nine points in the lopsided win and also snagged five boards.
Garrett Whitley swished in eight points and Matt Hogue muscled in six.  Trevor Swartz scored four points and both Nate Rasmussen and Aaron Poppert added a bucket.  Hogue grabbed eight rebounds for the Panthers and Rasmussen tallied three assists.  Kole Karcher recorded four assists for FC on Saturday.
To say the Panthers shot lights-out on Saturday, would be an understatement.  FC shot 67 percent from the floor (29-for-43) against the Crusaders and were good on 4-of-9 3-pointers.  The Panthers were also a respectable 16-for-24 from the charity stripe.  FC outrebounded its opponent 30-16 in the triumph.
The previous night, the Panthers downed Class D-1, 4-11 Tri County 57-47.  No stats were made available for this game.
FC, in the midst of a seven-game win streak, hosts 6-9, Class C-2 Centennial on Tuesday, January 26, and travels to 6-9, Class C-1 Gibbon on Friday.  The Panther boys are the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Southern Nebraska Conference (SNC) Basketball Tournament.   FC will host the winner of the Superior/Tri County play-in game on Tuesday, February 2, at 7 p.m. in Geneva.  With a victory, the Panthers will move on to play the Sutton/Wilber-Clatonia winner in one SNC semifinal contest on Thursday, February 4, in Centennial with tip-off slated for 7:45 p.m., in the West Gym.
FC defeated 11-4 W-C on December 18, 2015, of this season by the score of 58-40.  The Panthers have not faced the 7-7 Mustangs yet this season. The boys' championship game will be played on Saturday, February 6, at 7:45 p.m., at the Centennial High School.  Milford is the tourney's second seed, while Heartland is the third seed.