The Big 8 conference has 12 regular season games, and Orange is 2-0 in league play.
Clearly, it’s too early to say that Orange’s victory at Southern Durham on Tuesday night puts the Panthers in the driver’s seat in the chase for the conference regular season championship.
But winning at Spartans Gymnasium for the first time since 1990 is quite the stocking stuffer.
Connor Crabtree scored 29 points while classmate Logan Vosburg added 12 points and 18 rebounds as Orange defeated the Spartans 66-60 on Tuesday night at Spartans Gymnasium.
Orange’s previous win at Southern Durham was when Southern High was at its old location on Moore Drive in the 1990-91 season. The Panthers, under first-year head coach and future Durham Schools Superintendent Pat Rhodes, defeated Southern 68-63 in the season opener.
Southern was hampered when its leading scorer, Antonio Daye, was forced to leave the game intermittently because of cramps. Daye stretched behind the bench while junior Jomaru Brown took over the game for the Spartans, leading the team with 24 points.
Vosburg gave Orange a 48-46 lead off a quick transition feed from Mitch Portman with :16 remaining in the third quarter. It was the Panthers’ first advantage of the game.
Southern held the Panthers scoreless in the opening 4:52 of the fourth quarter, which included five missed free throws. During that time frame, the Spartans reeled off ten straight points after three field goals from Brown and another from Tyriq Burris to take a 56-48 lead with 3:22 remaining.
Crabtree started the rally with a 3-pointer, followed by a lay-in by Ryan Sellers off transition. Burris missed a dunk off a no-look pass from Daye, but a foul was called on Eli Haithcock. Burris missed the two free throws.
Vosburg scored off his own miss on an entry pass from Mitch Portman to narrow the Southern lead to 56-55 with 1:08 left.
On the ensuing Southern possession, Vosburg rebounded a Daye miss, which led to Portman breaking free for an errant shot. Vosburg rebounded and fed to Eli Haithcock for a lay-up that gave Orange a 57-56 lead with :57 remaining.
After Brown tied the game with a free throw, Vosburg tossed a kick-out pass to Sellers, who canned a three-pointer. Vosburg blocked a shot at the other end, giving the Panthers the lead for good.
The Panthers six of its last eight free throws to salt the game away.
Orange will travel to Eastern Guilford for the Eastern Guilford Holiday Tournament on Wednesday.