The Orange men’s basketball team used a 16-0 run in the first quarter to cruise past East Wake 63-48 in the opening round of the Columbia Bracket in the South Granville Holiday Invitational in Creedmoor on Wednesday night. Once again, Orange freshman Coleman Cloer and Sophomore Xandrell Pennix led the Panthers offensively. Cloer finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks. Pennix shot 5-of-9 from 3-point range and finished with 16 points. He also had five rebounds as the Panthers improved to 10-3. It was the first taste of holiday tournament basketball for Cloer, Pennix, Kai Wade and Ryan Honeycutt, who started at center. Despite the inexperience, the Panthers never trailed against the Warriors and advanced to the semifinals of the Columbia Bracket. Orange will face the host team, South Granville, on Thursday night. The Panthers finished 3rd in the South Granville Holiday Tournament’s Navy Bracket in 2021. With a win over the Vikings, Orange will play for its first tournament championship of any sort since 2017, when the Panthers faced Southern Durham for the Big 8 Conference Tournament championship.

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