Girls maul Bears in opener 68-31

The Paola Panther Girls wasted little time putting the Turner Bears back in hibernation, running to a 68-31 opening round victory in the Paola Girls Invitational Tournament in Paola Monday night, December 7, 2009. The Panthers played eleven players and all eleven scored and contributed significant minutes.

“Last night at practice I told the girls that they all needed to understand the scouting report when they got it this morning,” said Panthers Head Coach Stuart Ross. “I told them there would be eleven players on the bench, and all eleven were going to have to contribute.”

WLH0264 The Panthers heeded Ross’ words, and indeed all eleven players available made significant contributions. The Panthers were lead by Rachel Schmidt with 14 points, hitting the Panthers only three pointer on the evening and going three of four from the free throw line. No other Panther hit in double figures, but all other Panther players scored at least three points. Melanie Golubski hit for nine points, Allison Wood chipped in eight and Kayla Offutt added seven for Paola.

The Panthers jumped out to a 15-5 lead on the Bears in the first quarter, on the strength of five points by Schmidt and three from Offutt. The Panthers increased the lead to 13 points in the second quarter, outscoring the Bears 14-11 with Wood hitting four points and Golubski chipping in three. The Panthers could have had a bigger lead at the half if they could have hit their free throws, as they hit just 8 of 18 attempts in the second quarter.

The Panthers came out of the intermission and quickly pushed the lead to 22 points, as Courtney Johnson hit a basket and later added a free throw, Golubski and Schmidt hit field goals and Wood hit two free throws and the Panther lead stood at 38-16. The lead ballooned to thirty points as they went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter, with Schmidt, Mackenzie Hallstrom and Kylee Mader each hit baskets and Kaylee Farmer hit back to back baskets off steals and at the end of the third period the Panther lead stood at 50-20.

The Panthers continued their run to start the fourth quarter, as Offutt added a field goal and two free throws to give Paola a 54-20 lead. The Panthers increased the lead to to 39 points late in the game as Ann Pomatto hit the Paola’s final basket of the game to open a 68-29 lead. Schameka Davis closed out the game scoring with a basket to make the final score 68-31.

“A lot of kids struggled in places where they shouldn’t and other kids hit shots from the block that don’t normally shoot from there,” Ross said. “For example, Rachel Schmidt hit our only three pointer, but the good thing is everybody who stepped on the floor contributed.”

The Panthers will return to action Tuesday night when they take on the Eudora Cardinals, the Bears will face the Piper Pirates Tuesday also.