Lady Panthers second in West Slope division

Freshman Ryann Mergelman (pictured) and teammate Mary Scoggins led the team in scoring with nine points each. | MATT SCOGGINS PHOTO

RANGELY | The Rangely lady Panthers took to the road this past week to take on two league foes: the West Grand Mustangs and the Soroco Rams. The West Grand game had been rescheduled due to weather. The 186-mile trip to Kremmling seemed to take a toll on the Panthers as they only mustered three baskets in the first quarter. The Panthers trailed seven to six until they erupted for 19 points in the second quarter, giving them a 25-13 lead going into halftime. Leading the lady Panthers in scoring was junior Adelynn Halcomb with 10 points, followed by freshman Anikka Cantrell who scored eight, junior Mary Scoggins pitched in three points, and senior Dixie Rhea added two more.

The second half saw the much tighter defensive style the lady Panthers are accustomed to playing. The girls only allowed one point for the Mustangs in the third quarter and scored 12 more to bring the score to 37-14. Rangely’s half-court trap defense forced the Mustangs into 12 turnovers in the eight-minute quarter, allowing the Panthers to go on the 12-1 scoring run. Scoggins took over the Panthers’ scoring reign with five points; freshman Ryann Mergelman added three points, with Rhea and Halcomb both adding two more points.

Holding the 37-14 lead going into the fourth quarter, the Panthers had the goal of winning yet another quarter. By scoring nine points to the Mustangs four, the Panthers closed the game 46-18. Leading Rangely to victory was Scoggins with 13 points, Halcomb with 12, Cantrell with eight, Mergelman with seven, Rhea with six, and freshman Kastyn Dembowski scored one.

Freshman Ryann Mergelman | MATT SCOGGINS PHOTO

With the win, the lady Panthers remained undefeated in league play with a record of 4-0 and stayed tied for first place with Soroco, who was 3-0 in the league. The Panthers were to travel to Hayden for a non-league match-up with the Tigers on Friday, Feb. 26, but due to the Tigers being placed in quarantine, the game was not played. The next day, the Lady Panthers took to the road to head to Oak Creek and play the division championship determining game against the Rams.

The Soroco Rams proved why playing in their home gym is tough for opposing teams as they jumped out to a 14-8 lead after the first quarter and never surrendered the lead again. The Panthers’ leading scorers in the quarter were Scoggins with three points and Halcomb with three points. Cantrell scored the other bucket for the Panthers to give them their eight points.

The Panthers’ scoring woes continued as they could only score six points to the Rams 11 points. Scoggins scored four, with Rhea scoring the other two. The Panthers could not outscore the Rams in the third and fourth quarters as they lost the game 51-32. Leading the Panthers in scoring were Scoggins and Mergelman, who each had nine points, Halcomb with five, Dembowksi with three, and Cantrell, Rhea and Maya Mercado all scoring two points.

With the loss, the Panthers finished second in the Western Slope North division. The girls will face off against the Western Slope South division number two seed on Saturday, March 6 in Rangely at 1 p.m. The previously scheduled league game with Meeker will not be played between the Panthers and the Cowboys due to the Cowboys being placed in quarantine. The first non-league game played between the two teams will now count as the league game, and with the win in that game, the Panthers league record will be 5-1 with their overall record of 6-5. On Monday, March 1, the lady Panthers are in contention for the 24-team state tournament bracket as the 21 seed. Still, the final bracket will not be available until Sunday, March 7, from the CHSAA seeding committee.