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RANGELY | Coming off of the winter holiday break the Rangely Panthers hosted the Tigers from Hayden. The Panthers were coming off of their Manila Holiday Classic Championship and the Tigers also traveled to Manila to participate in the same tournament but the teams did not meet in the tournament. The Panthers came into the game Friday night with a 5-1 record and on a five game streak. The Panthers were able to push that streak to six with a commanding 47-22 league victory.
The Panthers took a solid 14 point lead into halftime of the game. The third quarter proved to be somewhat challenging for the Panthers as they were only able to score six points to Hayden’s seven. The fourth quarter proved to be a better quarter for the Panthers as they were able to outscore the Tigers 16-4.
Senior Katelyn Brown and junior Skylar Thacker led the Panthers in scoring with 13 each, followed by junior Kassidee Brown with 10, senior Halie Elam with six, juniors Alanna Wiley and McKenzie Cochrane with two each and senior Sarah Connor with one.
“We played hard all game long and responded to pressure with pressure and were very successful on that end of the game,” as said by head coach Jimmie Mergelman. The Panthers were able to come in focused and stay focused throughout the week of practice prior to this competition which is at times tough to do. The victory also put the Panthers at a 1-0 mark in the Western Slope 2A league in the top half of the league standings.
Saturday, Jan. 6, the Panthers traveled to Oak Creek for their second league matchup of the year against the Soroco Rams. The game between two of the better teams in the conference proved to be a good one to start with the Rams pulling away in the second half with a 51-39 victory over the Panthers. The Panthers surrendered an early lead in the first quarter that ended with the Rams ahead 11-8. In the second quarter the Panthers were led by Katelyn Brown and Sarah Connor with four points each. The Rams were led by junior Kayla Willie who scored 12 of her 20 total points during the second quarter. The Panthers found themselves down 17-27 heading into the locker room for halftime.
The Rams continued to connect from the three-point perimeter in the second half as the shooting woes were routine for the Panthers in the second half and Soroco ran away with a 51-39 victory over the Panthers. Skylar Thacker had to be removed from the game with an ankle injury that occurred early in the first quarter. Thacker gave a valiant effort in trying to fight through the pain to continue to play through the game but succumbed to another ankle injury to the same ankle in the third quarter and Thacker had to be shut down.
The Panthers were led in scoring by Katelyn Brown who had 17 points, Sarah Connor scored six, Alanna Wiley scored five, Kassidee Brown and Skylar Thacker with four points and Mackenze Cochrane with three points.
The Panthers will look to rebound with a busy week as they will travel to Aspen to take on the Skiers on Tuesday night at 4, 5:30 and 7 p.m., hosting cross-county rival Meeker on Thursday at 4, 5:30 and 7 and hosting the Cedaredge Bruins at Parkview Elementary on Friday at 4:30 and 6 p.m. The Panthers look forward to the continued support from the great Rangely community this week on Thursday and Friday.