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Final minutes doom Panthers at Ottawa

Somewhere along the way, the Paola Panther girls and the Ottawa Cyclone girls have become rivals. It’s not really clear when this rivalry began, but for the past few years, these two teams have developed a rivalry that is unmatched in intensity, at least in this day and age.

WLH0230 The Panthers and Cyclones have battled at the highest of levels in the past few years, and the teams have faced each other countless times in recent memory with some pretty high stakes on the table. More often than not, the two teams have fought for league titles, tournament titles and state tournament berths on the line.

Last year the league volleyball and basketball crowns went through these two communities and the girls contests were knock down, drag out affairs, with very little love lost between it participants.

This year has been no different. In the Frontier League Volleyball tournament the Cyclones handed the Panthers their only match loss in Paola’s first ever Frontier League tournament title, a week later, the Cyclones and Panthers squared off in a rematch, this time with a trip to the state tournament on the line. The Panther prevailed on that afternoon.

Less than a month ago, the Panthers and Cyclones battled to a 56-32 Ottawa victory on the hardwoods of Paola High School, the 14 point Cyclone victory was sealed by a late run that took the Panthers out of what had shaped up to be a very close game.

No one expected any less that a repeat performance on Friday, February 5, 2010 as the two teams squared off for the second time this season in Ottawa, these two teams don’t really like each other, they respect each other, but like is not in the equation. The Panthers again were locked in a struggle with the Cyclones, until a late 15-2 run sent Paola home on the short end of a 59-46 score.

In basketball at least on this season its Ottawa 2 - Paola 0, but there’s a chance these two teams will meet again in a couple of weeks in the sub-state tournament, and again, a state tournament trip will be on the line, both teams will be ready, and neither would have it any other way.

In their first contest of the season, the Panthers hung with the Cyclones for the first half of the game, but faded as the third quarter got underway, on this night, the Panthers were in the game until into the fourth quarter. This game was a dead heat witih five minutes to play, that’s when the Cyclones went on their 15-2 run to pull away for the double digit victory.

The Panther defense did a good job, for the most part, on the very difficult Ottawa front line, as once again the Panthers found themselves giving up miss matches around the basket. The Cyclones did not shoot well down low, which was a credit to the Panthers ability to defend the bigger, taller Cyclone front line.

Add to that, the fact that Courtney Johnson, who has emerged as an offensive force for the Panthers in the past few games, continued her scoring streak, pumping in a game high 23 points for Paola. The Panthers again played with the lead through much of the first half, taking a 27-26 halftime lead.

The teams continued to go toe to toe through the third quarter and at the five minute mark in the game, the teams were even at 44 points each.

That’s when the Cyclones suddenly found its inside game, and the Panthers were unable to answer the run. Jordan Baldwin hit six of her team high 21 points in rapid succession and Mikela Scott converted a three point play to give the Cyclones a 53-45 lead with a minute and a half to play and the game had turned in the Cyclones favor.

Johnson lead all scorers with 23 points in the game, MacKenzie Hallstrom kicked in 13 points to be the only Panthers in double figures in the game. Baldwin hit for 21 points to lead Ottawa, with 10 of those points coming in the deciding stretch in the fourth quarter. The Cylcones had two other players in double figures with Bones hitting 11 and Miller adding 10.

The Panthers will hit the road again on Tuesday, February 9, 2010 with a road game in Nevada, Missouri, before returning home on Friday to host the Spring Hill Broncos.

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Hallstrom

3

1

3

3

5

12

Rankin

0

0

0

0

1

0

Golubski

0

0

0

0

0

0

Farmer

1

0

0

0

0

2

Johnson

6

2

5

8

1

23

Wood

0

0

0

0

5

0

Mader

1

0

1

1

4

3

Kessler

1

0

3

8

1

5

Schmidt

0

0

0

1

3

0

TOTAL

12

3

12

21

12

45

BOX SCORE

PLAYER

2's

3's

ftm

fta

F

pts

Miller, S.

5

0

0

0

0

10

Miller, A.

0

0

1

2

4

1

Watts

0

0

0

0

4

0

Baldwin

7

0

5

9

1

19

Bones

3

1

2

2

2

11

Scott

1

0

3

8

2

5

Peoples

2

0

6

7

4

10

Roecker

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

18

1

17

28

17

56

BOX SCORE

Team

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

F

Paola

14

13

11

7

45

Ottawa

10

16

12

18

56

SCORE BY QUARTERS
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