GRIFFITH — The same thing happens every day at practice.

The Griffith Panthers walk out into the gym and for 45 minutes they shoot free throws. Over and over again.

In Tuesday night's home game against The Times No. 3 Bowman Academy Eagles, the daily thing worked to perfection. Or almost perfection.

Griffith hit eight of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter to get the Panthers their fifth straight win, 72-64 over the Eagles.

"We know we have to hit free throws to win games like this," said junior guard Tim Lawson, who scored 20 points to lead his team.

"We do it every day," sophomore Oshawn Lee said, scoring 17 in the game while hitting four 3-pointers.

Coach Grayling Gordon's system has come down to the same thing every game, too. Play a lot of players and make sure they're playing defense in every second of the contest.

Gordon shuffles the lineup like an NHL coach.

"No one expected us to even compete with them," Gordon said. "They are such a talented team. They play hard. They're well coached. But we have a deep bench and we got them tired.

"That's what we do here at Griffith."

Bowman senior center Chinedu Okanu was a beast inside as the 6-foot-8 power was a matchup problem for the Panthers (11-8). He scored 23 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had five blocked shots.

But he wasn't enough as Bowman was playing without five players that suited up for them in their last game. Four were because of discipline issues and Meeko Bond has recovering from an injury.

"We only had seven varsity players," Bowman coach Tyrone Robinson said. "We looked for them to compete, play together and play hard, which we didn't do."

Langston Stalling scored 17 for the Eagles (12-6), while Joseph Moore had 10.

The Panthers led 37-31 at the half after scoring 23 points in the second quarter. Griffith got to the free throw line 13 times and made nine of the charity tosses.

Gordon's master plan of using multiple players in employing a team-first defensive effort seemed to work as the first half wore on. The Eagles were breathing heavy and holding their shorts on several of the stops in play.

Because of the heavy snow last week, Bowman hadn't played a game since Jan. 27, while Griffith beat Highland 60-55 on Saturday night.

Lee hit three 3-pointers in the first half, which gave his team's offense a spark. Gordon has been talking all season about how he only has two players with varsity experience this season.

But the youngsters are starting to play like they have beards.

"Hitting those shots were a great feeling," Lee said. "But I have to thank my teammates for getting me the ball when I was open."

Bowman went on a 16-0 run at the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth to take a five-point lead, but Griffith's defense and foul shooting proved to be the difference.

Jake Dye added 16 points with five assists, with three of the helpers going to Lee who hung the nets.

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Sports reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.