TAMPA — Plant had suffered a couple of tough losses the past couple of weeks, losses that came after the Panthers held relatively big leads.
Coach Joe Willis said what the Panthers needed Tuesday night was a solid finish at Wharton, easily one of the toughest teams in Class 8A, District 8, which is loaded with tough teams.
In fact, once Plant grabbed the lead early in the second quarter it never trailed the rest of the way before finally sealing up a 51-43 victory.
"Coming in here and playing this way was huge for us because playing here is never easy," Willis said. "When we execute and stick to our game plan we can be pretty good. I thought we showed that tonight."
The victory pushed Plant's record to 10-2 overall and 8-0 in the district, where seeding for the upcoming district tournament is key because of the tough competition up and down the eight teams.
Plus, Tuesday's victory might help with some good vibes playing at Wharton, which is the district tournament host.
For Wharton (9-2, 6-2) the loss was the second of the season to Plant, which on Tuesday pretty much answered every Wharton push.
The Wildcats cut the gap to three and four points several times, but each time Plant answered with a solid defensive stop or some cool precision on offense.
"I have to give all the credit to Plant because they were well coached and they played hard and executed," Wharton coach Tommy Tonelli said. "We prepared and felt good, but Plant really just took it to us."
The bright lights for Plant shined throughout its lineup with Logan Morrissey leading the scoring with 16 points, followed by Ronald Boyd (15) and Dylan Wilson with nine.
Defensively, Plant's Boyd and Kyle Singletary stood out, particularly on coverage of Wharton's leading scorer, Darin Green, who finished with 11 points, which was well below his recent game numbers.
Wildcat Carr Thiam also had 11 points and DJ Henderson chipped in eight.