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The Lady Panthers learned the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat following competition in the Class A tournament this weekend in Owen County.
During the four-night tournament, the girls varsity basketball team had some incredible highs, defeating Williamstown in an absolute thriller in the opening game Wednesday, Jan. 14. But they lost a heartbreaker to Gallatin County in the final game, with just three-tenths of a second left on the clock.
Head Coach Randy Mefford described the win over Williamstown as the most exciting game he’s ever been involved in.
“This was a terrific come-from-behind victory,” he said.
The score was knotted at 29 points each at the end of the first half, but the Lady Panthers went cold in the third period, scoring only six to the Lady Demons’ 11.
The Lady Panthers came roaring back in the fourth period with 22 points – senior Lindsay Wallace added seven of her 11 in that period.
Kyndal Curry and Hannah Devine each contributed 18 points. Mefford said Devine’s three-point play, with under a minute left in the game, put the Lady Panthers in the lead for good.
In the second round, the Lady Panthers took on the Lady Rebels of Owen County on Jan. 16 in the march to the top spot in the 8th Region.
The Panthers led the entire game over the Rebels, with a final score of 54-36.
Devine again had an 18-point night, with Curry adding 10. Wallace added nine points; Marissa Brindley, 10; and Mercedes Martin added two off the bench.
In the final game on Jan. 17, the Lady Panthers faced off against the Lady Wildcats of Gallatin County. The game began with the Lady Panthers applying their usual smothering defense against the border-rival team, staking themselves to a 15-8 lead at the end of the first period.
But then, the Lady Wildcats came out on fire from behind the arc, hitting four treys and sparking a long line of tries from the charity stripe.
By game’s end, the Lady Wildcats had the opportunity to shoot 24 times at the line, compared to the Lady Panthers’ two shots.
The Wildcats only went 18 for 24, but the lopsided numbers sent fans howling from the stands.
A foul in the midst of a scrum under the Lady Wildcats’ bucket – with three tenths of a second on the clock – sent opponent Allyson Davis to the line, where her unorthodox shooting was deadly. Davis sunk both free-throws to steal the game, 40-42.
Obviously disappointed with the outcome, Mefford said he told his girls, “I’ve been to Richmond five different times, and the ones I feel worse for are our two seniors Keshia and Lindsay,” he said. “Our region is very tough, and you don’t get that opportunity sometimes to get back to the championship game. Hopefully we can learn from that.”
There were no Lady Panthers in double figures for the last game; Brindley was high-scorer with eight off the bench; seniors Wallace and Henderson each scored seven; Devine, 6; Curry, 5; and Jill Butcher, a three-pointer. Sarah Osborne and Martin added two points each.