Panthers overpower Leopards on Senior Day

Jack Janes
Sports Editor

The Leopards suffered a Senior Day loss at the hands of the Chapman Panthers, 80-67, Saturday afternoon at Frantz Athletic Court.

“All year for us, we’ve not been able to put 40 minutes together,” head coach Richard Reed said. “We usually play well for a half and we just haven’t been able to put two complete halves together.” 

Before the game, the four seniors – forward Kyler Harvey, guard Jonas Holt, guard Saafir Moore and guard and forward Kieth Stewart – were honored before the game with a ceremony.

“My time at La Verne has been amazing. To Athletics, to the school, they gave me opportunities to be successful and I took advantage of that and I’m forever thankful for this university for what they offered me,” Stewart said.

The Leopards got off to a good start with Stewart making a jump shot to open the scoring and a three-pointer by graduate student guard Paul Antonis to take an early 7-3 lead. Chapman answered back with a layup by senior forward Andrew Ingalls and a pair of three-pointers by senior guard McKelary Robertson to give Chapman an 11-9 lead.

Both teams went back-and-forth and found themselves tied at 18-18 when Chapman finally started to create some separation on the scoreboard. The Panthers would go on a 20-8 run to end the first half up, 38-26. The shots just did not fall for the Leopards in the first half as they shot 28.2% from the field.

Although the second half was a much closer battle, a slow start prevented the Leopards from getting back into the game. Early in the second half, the Panthers went on a 10-point run to extend their lead to 50-32 – a lead that was too much to overcome, despite the Leopards’ best efforts.

The Leopards offense started to click after that, but Chapman kept answering back, negating any progress. In the last five minutes, the Leopards went on a 13-6 run, but it was too little, too late as the Leopards lost, 80-67.

The Leopards closed out the season with a 73-58 loss against Pomona-Pitzer on Tuesday at Frantz Athletic Court.

“It’s been a great experience here,” Moore said. “I’ve made bonds and relationships with my teammates that are going to last forever. I’m just grateful to play the game of basketball, have those bonds with those guys and continue to pursue higher education.”

“My experience was great too,” Harvey said. “I got to learn a lot and got to teach a little and to spend time with the family, but good energy and good teammates and just good people to be around on the campus, too.”

The Leopards finished the 2023-2024 season 6-18 overall and 3-13 in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.

“It wasn’t the season that anybody wanted, but there’s always a painful growth period before you’re able to really kind of turn the corner and I think we’re kind of in that right now,” Reed said.

Jack Janes can be reached at jack.janes@laverne.edu.

Jack Janes, a senior journalism major, is sports editor of the Campus Times and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine. He is also a staff photographer for both publications. He previously served as a Campus Times staff writer.

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