PORT BYRON — The Panthers had a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, but the hot-shooting Black Knights had other ideas.
Port Byron was defeated by Tully 72-52 Wednesday at Dana West High School in Port Byron, with the Black Knights knocking down 11 3-pointers on the night.
The Panthers trailed by seven at halftime and briefly cut Tully's lead to two early in the third quarter, but weren't able to keep pace with the Black Knights after that.
"Quite honestly I felt like we should've been in the lead, because we put the ball in the right spots and just missed really good opportunities again and again and again," Port Byron coach Mike Hermann said. "We had a really hard time finding someone to consistently put the ball in the basket. We felt like it was going to be a ball game the whole way, but three careless turnovers and a couple of 3s (by Tully) — the complexion of the game changed entirely. That's on us."
Brandon Relfe was Port Byron's top scorer with 14 points, and Scott Compson trailed closely behind with 13. Tyrease Carter chipped in with 11 and Kody Kurtz added nine.
Lack of consistency has been one of the few consistent aspects of the Panthers' season midway through, and that held true against Tully. In the first half, Port Byron moved the ball effectively in the half court, and while that didn't always result in baskets it was a positive step.
After cutting Tully's lead to two less than two minutes into the second half following a basket from Compson and a pair of free throws from Relfe, Port Byron couldn't match the scoring rate in store for the Black Knights. Tully scored 24 in the third quarter alone to go up 53-41, then scored 19 more in the fourth quarter to close out the game.
Having won a tight game against Faith Heritage Monday, Port Byron had a prime opportunity to win two in a row for the first time all season; Tully, which won the section title last year, entered Wednesday's game with only three wins on the season.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, a winning streak will have to wait for another day.
"I wish I knew how to get us more consistent," Hermann said. "We're up and we're down. Sometimes we're pretty good and other times we're not. We've definitely made some significant progress."
Port Byron (4-8) still has a path to sectionals, but it'll take some work. Hermann estimated that the Panthers will need to go .500 over their last eight games to qualify.
"We still have a pathway to get there, and there's a couple different ways we can do it," Hermann said. "The cleanest way is to get four out of our next eight. That's still in our possession, and we have to understand that we control a lot of things. The things we don't control we have to let go. It's in our reach, in our grasp, but we'll see what we do with it."
Up next is Blessed Virgin Mary at home on Monday, Jan. 14.