Defensive Domination!

Panthers shut down Eudora to claim 14th win

WLH0043 The Paola Panther Girls ran their record to 14-0 on Friday, January 30, 2009 as they downed the Eudora Cardinal Girls 54-34 at Eudora. The Panthers were never really challenged in the contest, jumping to a 17-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and cruising to the 20 point victory.

“We have reached the time of the season when people will start to worry about how the pie is divided,” said Panthers Head Coach Stuart Ross. “Points, rebounds, names in the paper, that’s all irrelevant.”

For the first time in a while, the Panthers jumped out to a lead in the first quarter. In fact, except for two free throws, the Cardinals went nearly the entire first quarter without scoring a field goal, as Eudora’s Haley Epperson finally scored a two pointer for the Cardinals with under 30 seconds to play in the quarter.

By that time the Panthers had run out to a 13 point lead. Rachel Hanf started and ended the scoring for the Panthers in the quarter, in between Taylor Smith, Kayla Offutt, Megan Hayes and Ashlee Johnson all scored for Paola. By the end of the quarter the Panthers were enjoying a 17-4 lead.

The Cardinals made a run at Paola at the beginning of the second quarter, mostly on the strength of a hot hand by Epperson, as she singlehandedly took Eudora on a 9-2 run to cut the Panther lead to 19-13. Hayes and Hanf bumped the lead back to ten at 23-13 before the Cardinals outscored the Panthers 6-4 to end the half with Paola holding an eight point, 27-19 lead.

“Our man to man defense was pretty good, and it’s starting to make things happen,” Ross said. “We held Eudora without any 3’s and that’s pretty good.”

Eudora’s Bailey Scott hit a basket to open the second half, cutting the Panther lead to six and 27-21, it would be as close as the Cardinals would come. After Paola called time out with six and a half minutes to play in the period, Karr and Hanf hit jumpers and Courtney Clouse nailed a three pointer and the Panther lead was back to double digits at 34-21. The run by the Panthers forced Eudora to call time out with about three and a half minutes to play in the period. Eppeson stopped the Panther run with a free throw off Hayes’ fourth foul, but the Panthers went on an 8-2 run to close out the third period with a 16 point lead at 40-24.

WLH0121 Eudora was effectively out of the game at the beginning of the fourth period, as Epperson and Karr traded baskets, and the Cardinals got free throws by Rachel Pyle and Epperson to cut the lead to 14 at 42-18. The Panthers ran the lead to 20 points after an 8-2 run to take a 50-20 lead. It could have been worse for the Cardinals as the Panthers managed to miss three of seven free throws in the run. Scott and Jocelyn Medrano hit baskets for Eudora and Rachel Schmidt hit two baskets for the Panthers to close out the game and seal the 20 point 54-34 victory.

Ross continued the same message he has been sending to his team all season long, telling the team to enjoy the run and be prepared for another tough game next week as Ottawa comes to town to take on the Panthers in the Homecoming game.