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The Lady Panthers opened the game sluggish after the previous night’s loss to Owen County, but stepped it up in the second half to pull out a 56-45 win over the Lady Rebels of Southwestern (Hanover) Saturday night.
Southwestern jumped out of the gate with a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, led by senior Katie McKinley, who scored 11 of her 16 points in the quarter.
Both teams played aggressively, but sloppily in the second quarter, continuously turning the ball over. Only nine points were scored between the two teams, and the Lady Panthers went into the locker room down 23-19.
“We didn’t really make any strategic changes, but we just told them to slow down a little bit, to take care of the basketball a little bit more and they did,” Lady Panthers Head Coach Randy Mefford said.
The Lady Panthers broke loose in the second half, scoring 36 points in what Mefford called their “best half of basketball the entire season.”
Sophomore Hannah Devine led all scorers with 26 points, 18 in the second half.
“She’s our go-to-player, and she makes everyone around her better,” Mefford said.
However, Mefford said he still wanted his other players to look for their shots and take opportunities to drive to the basket.
“We want to be a balanced team, (and) we had pretty good scoring tonight.”
Starters senior Sarah Osborne (nine points), junior Kyndal Curry (eight points), junior Latasha Hunter (five points) and senior Marissa Brindley (four points) each found the bottom of the basket, while senior Jenna Goff scored four points coming off the bench.
Both Goff and sophomore Nikki Hill provided quality minutes off the bench, which allowed Mefford to rest his starters, something he did not do in their loss the night before to Owen County.
“Southwestern jumped out on us early in this game, … but our girls showed some good perseverance, and they kept fighting hard,” Mefford said. “We’re fortunate to get the win over them because they came ready to go, no doubt about it.”