RANGELY I As most of the Western Slope League scrambled to reschedule Feb. 7-8 games, the annual Rio Blanco match between the lady Panthers and the Cowboys took place as scheduled. The lady Panthers took the floor looking to take down another undefeated Western Slope League team as they did the Hotchkiss Bulldogs the weekend before. The outcome, however, was not what the Panthers wanted as they fell to their cross-county rivals 41-51.
The Cowboys set the fast-paced tone of the game early as they jumped out to a 15 point lead by the end of the first quarter. Leading with six points, Julia Dinwiddie converted some Panther turnovers to power the Cowboys. The lady Panthers were able to weather the onslaught of scoring by the Cowboys through the first quarter and level the game out after. Kacie Lapp was the lone scorer of the first quarter for the lady Panthers.
In the second quarter the Panthers got into a rhythm offensively and scored eight points. The Panthers were also able to slow the Cowboys down and hold Meeker to nine points. At the half the Cowboys held a 28-12 lead over the Panthers. Lapp continued to lead all Panther scorers as she recorded six points in the first half. Hannah Wilkie, Mary Scoggins, and Kyrah Phelps all scored two points each to help the lady Panthers.
The second half proved to be more friendly to the Panthers as they outscored the Cowboys 29-22 in the third and fourth quarters combined. Wilkie led all Panther scorers with eight points, Scoggins added seven, Lapp added six more to her scoring, and Adelynn Halcomb scored five. The lady Panthers cut the deficit to seven points at one point in the fourth quarter but the Cowboys converted on their free-throw attempts to take home a 10-point victory.
The Panthers will look to finish their regular season on a winning streak to head into the district tournament.
The North Park Wildcats will travel to Rangely on Friday, Feb. 14 and then travel to Paonia on Saturday, Feb. 15. The De Beque Dragons will complete the lady Panthers regular season when they travel to Rangely on Friday, Feb. 21.