Lady Panthers get first state-level win

Rangely senior Katelyn Brown takes a jump shot in the game against Simla, with her sister Kassidee (14) backing her up and teammates Makenze Cochrane (13) and Halie Elam positioned for a rebound. The elder Brown led the lady Panthers with 527 points, including 66, three-pointers, 87 assists, 57 steals and she made 170 of 192 free throws this season. Bobby Gutierrez Photo

RANGELY | The lady Panthers finished their 2018 season at the state tournament in Loveland this last weekend. The Panthers went into the tournament the No. 6 seed, and they matched up with the No. 3 Wray Eagles in the first round at the Budweiser Events Center on Thursday. The game didn’t quite start how the Panthers had hoped. Wray had considerable size on the Panthers, and the Eagles seemed to be able to score at will on the inside. At the half the Lady Panthers were down 21-42. In the second half the Panthers started to find a groove, and they even outscored Wray, but it was all too late and the Panthers ended up losing 49-69.

On Friday the Lady Panthers squad matched up with the Simla Cubs. In the first quarter against the Cubs, the Panthers scored from the free throw line, but the Cubs hit a couple shots from downrange and held a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter. All of that was about to change, however, because the Panthers settled into a rhythm and started scoring. The Panthers scored 15 points in the second quarter, their best quarter of the game, giving them a four-point lead going into the locker room at halftime. To start the second half, the Panthers again  dominated the Cubs, scoring on both sides of the three-point line, while also holding the Cubs to a six-point quarter, further extending the Lady Panthers lead. The fourth quarter was won for the Panthers at the free throw line, only scoring one basket that was not from the charity stripe.

The lady Panthers earned their first state tournament win over the Cubs 47-38. Senior Katelyn Brown led the scoring drive for the Panthers with 21 points. She was followed by her sister Kassidee who earned nine. Sarah Connor added eight, Skylar Thacker had five and Halie Elam was able to score four points.

With the win over Simla, The Panthers moved on to play Holyoke in the consolation championship. In this game, the Holyoke Dragons got off to an early lead on the Panthers by scoring inside. Luckily the Panthers were able to hold on and weather the storm. The Panthers went into the second half down by 10 points, but they were the ones with the hot hand to start the second half. As soon as the half started, Katelyn Brown and Skylar Thacker were able to score from beyond the three-point arc and in less than a minute and a half, the Panthers had made it a one-point game. The scoring run for the Panthers was helped by a strong defensive showing that held Holyoke to only five points in the third quarter. The Panthers gained the lead and started the fourth quarter on top. The Panthers had three different girls score from beyond the arc in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers got into some foul trouble and the Holyoke team did not miss too many free throws. The Panthers ended up losing 41-46 in their final game of the season.

Again the Panthers were led by senior Katelyn Brown who had 21 points. She was followed by Skylar Thacker who had 10, Kassidee Brown added five, Halie Elam had three and Sarah Connor had two.

The lady Panthers not only reached the state tournament level, but got a win there. The last time the lady Panthers took a team to state was in 2002. The Rangely Panthers team finished with a 22-5 record on the season.