RANGELY | Coming out of the holiday break is one of the toughest challenges for a basketball coach. Determined not to allow the holiday break to deter any success from December, the lady Panthers and the coaching staff assembled for a meeting to set standards and goals for the season. Since this meeting the Panthers have been working hard at honing skills and talents. The girls put their efforts to the test on Friday, Jan. 10 when the Manila Mustangs traveled from Utah to take on the lady Panthers. The two teams met in the Manila Holiday Classic tournament and the Panthers secured a 54-24 victory off a strong defensive effort. Led by seniors Hannah Wilkie, Zoey Peck and Susan Gillard the Panthers wanted to continue this strong defensive effort into 2020.
The Panthers opened up the scoring quickly against the Mustangs in the first period as Kacie Lapp scored on layups in their first possessions. Lapp scored all 10 points in the quarter for the Panthers. On defense the Panthers surrendered six points to the Mustangs to lead 10-6 at the end of the first quarter. In the team huddle the Panthers expressed the need to rotate better on defense and tighten up their defense altogether. In the second quarter the Panthers only allowed the Mustangs one bucket while scoring 15. Hannah Wilkie led the in the second quarter with eight points and the Panthers took a 25-8 lead into the halftime break.
The Mustangs attempted to tighten up their defense on Lapp and Wilkie. Mary Scoggins stepped up and scored all seven of the Panthers points. The Panthers only allowed five total points in the third quarter which put the score at 32-13 in favor of the Panthers.
In the fourth quarter, a host of Panthers added to the scoring attempts as Zoey Peck scored four points, Adelynn Halcomb nailed a three-pointer, Shauna Lapp scored two and Dixie Rhea scored one point. The lady Panthers looked to be in cruise control in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Mustangs 14-4 to close the game out at 46-17 for their second win of the season against the Mustangs.
The Panthers were led statistically by Lapp (13 points, 11 rebounds, five steals), Wilkie (12 points, five rebounds, four steals) and Scoggins (11 points, eight rebounds, two assists). The 13 points and 11 rebounds marked Lapp’s third double-double game of the year. The Panthers pushed their record to 6-1 overall on the year with this win.
On Saturday, Jan. 11 the lady Panthers took to the road for their first Western Slope League match against the Hayden Tigers. The Tigers came into the game with one of the best records in the Western Slope League with seven wins, one loss and one league win against the North Park Wildcats. Each of the two teams featured numerous players with double-digit scoring averages on the year and set up to be a very wild game.
The Panthers brought their best defense of the season so far in the first and second quarters as they forced 11 turnovers by the Tigers. The girls also had their best quarters of offense this season in the first and second scoring 13 points in the first quarter and 16 in the second. The lady Panthers backed up their offense only allowing the Tigers to score five points in the first quarter and five in the second and took a 29-10 lead into the halftime break. The Panthers were led in scoring by Lapp who had 11 points in the first half, Wilkie 11, Scoggins four, and Halcomb with three. Strong plays in the paint and converting their free throw attempts pushed the Panthers to their halftime lead.
Coming out of the break the Tigers went into a halfcourt-press defense that prevented the Panthers from getting into an offensive groove while the Tigers put up a score of 14 points to the Panthers four points in the fourth quarter. The Rangely girls weathered the storm by the Tigers and kept a 33-24 lead heading into the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, Scoggins scored five points on free throws to lead the Panthers. Kacie Lapp added three points to push her game total to 16 points. With 11 rebounds, Lapp added to her double-double totals on the year to four games with at least two stats in double figures. The Panthers were able to outlast the Tigers in the final seconds and secure their first league win this season 41-37.
The lady Panthers record now stands at 7-1 overall and 1-0 in Western Slope League play. The girls took on the Olathe Pirates on Jan. 14 for a non-league matchup. The Panthers will host the Vail Christian Saints for a league match-up on Friday, Jan. 17. The Saints are currently 2-4 on the season and 0-1 in league play. Following the league game on Friday, the Lady Panthers will travel to Collbran to take on the hosting Plateau Valley Cowboys in a league match-up. The Panthers gave the Cowboys their only loss of the season before the holiday break when the Panthers won 42-28.
Special to the Herald Times