Thunderbirds soar past Panama, 93-56

Photo by Scott Reagle Devin Pope (23) makes a strong move to the basket against Panama’s Ryan Joslyn (33) in a non-league boys’ basketball game Thursday evening.

MAYVILLE — The Chautauqua Lake Thunderbirds boys basketball team won its season opener at home against Panama, by a score of 93-56, on Thursday night.

Chautauqua Lake led from early on in the game until the final whistle, behind what was described as a “quick start” by Thunderbirds coach Michael Putney. Chautauqua Lake held a 20-10 lead after the first quarter.

Chautauqua Lake increased its lead to 17 points at halftime, with a 44-27 score at the break.

The third quarter was closely-contested, with Panama actually out-scoring the high-flying Thunderbirds 24-23, but the Panthers still trailed by 16 heading to the fourth quarter.

“Panama is a young team, but they are well coached,” said Putney. “They stuck around until we put it away late.”

The Thunderbirds punctuated the game in the fourth, outscoring Panama 26-5 in the final period of action.

Chautauqua Lake was led by senior guard Devin Pope with 35 points on the evening. Pope, the all-time leading scorer in school history, averaged a league-high 28.2 points per game last season.

Pope was not alone on the night, as two of his teammates had double-digit scoring nights. Nate Adams, a sophomore playing in his first regular season varsity game, scored 17 points. Junior Kyler Majka, the second returning scorer from last season, added 20 points.

“Majka had an exceptional game,” Putney said.

Chautauqua Lake will face a tough test on the road next week, as it travels to neighboring Westfield on Tuesday.

“That’s going to be a good one,” said Putney.