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FC Advances To Dist. Final

Well, Fillmore Central was going to score 54 points against Sutton Thursday night in the C2-7 Sub-district final.  It was just a matter of how many points the Panthers were going to limit the Mustangs to.  Thankfully, the FC defense rose up during Sutton's final possession, as a wild 3-point shot clanked off the backboard in Fairbury and the 21-3 Panthers survived to tangle with defending State Champion Hastings St. Cecilia in the C2-4 District final.
Playing for the third time in just 19 days, FC had previously beaten the young-and-coming Mustangs 54-39 in a SNC Tournament semi-final game and 54-41 at Sutton in a regular-season contest.
For-sure All-Stater Leyton Hopken had a stellar game for FC in the sub-district final.  The Panther senior scored a game-high 25 points (7-for-10 from the field, 9-for-9 at the free-throw line), dished out five assists, made two steals and grabbed three rebounds in the win.  Fellow senior Matt Hogue powered in eight points and snagged four rebounds.  Kole Karcher scored six points and Garrett Whitley added five.  Adam Hoarty also netted five points and Noah Temme added four.  Aaron Poppert sank a free throw.
The game was tight throughout, with FC holding a 33-31 advantage at the break.  Both teams scored nine points in the third period, as the referee's frequent whistles had both squads in foul trouble. Converting a myriad of baskets down low, Sutton shot 57 percent (19-for-33) from the field.  FC went 17-for-33.
Last Tuesday, the Panthers zipped past outmanned Thayer Central 62-28.  FC led the contest 40-16 at intermission and never looked back.  The Panthers continued their hot shooting by going 25-for-46 from the floor (54 percent) and a solid 5-for-10 performance from beyond the 3-point line. FC was also 7-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Hopken and Hoarty both scored 16 points against the Titans.  Karcher swished in eight points in the win and Whitley added six points and a game-high seven rebounds.  Temme netted six points and dished out four assists.
Hogue and Nate Rasmussen both scored four points and Poppert added two more. Hopken grabbed five boards and Hogue had four steals.
With the win, FC draws the difficult assignment of facing the Blue Hawks, arguably one of the best teams in the state regardless of class, in the district final on February 29.