Late run fells Lady Panthers
Basketball is a zero-sum game. When played with confidence, it is a thing of beauty. Let that confidence slip, and it becomes a game of desperation. For 29 of the official 32 minutes of game time last …
Late run fells Lady Panthers
Basketball is a zero-sum game. When played with confidence, it is a thing of beauty. Let that confidence slip, and it becomes a game of desperation. For 29 of the official 32 minutes of game time last Tuesday, the Alba-Golden Lady Panthers played with confidence. The last three minutes slipped into desperation, as the Como-Pickton Lady Eagles ran off 14 straight points to go home with a 47-36 win.
The Lady Panthers came out of the gate fast. They dominated the boards, created turnovers and most notably denied the Lady Eagles the court. It is not enough to say that they played tight defense. They allowed the Lady Eagles no room to breathe, much less to shoot or drive or in some cases even to pivot.
Kalli Trimble opened the scoring with an inside basket. Alexis Wilmut registered a shot block early on, which just highlighted the energy with which Alba-Golden started the game.
Lady Panther Kayleigh Logan came off the bench and hit two 3-pointers – one from the top of the key and one from a Cacie Lennon assist – to give the home side a 10-4 lead after one quarter.
Como-Pickton collected themselves a bit in the second quarter. The game was exhaustingly physical, but neither side could generate many points. Logan nicked the ball away from a Lady Eagle and found Kamrin Wright, who aced a 3-pointer to give Alba-Golden a one-point edge with 2:00 remaining to halftime.
Some great rebounding and ball-hawking work by Wilmut and Lennon was for naught, and the game went to the halftime knotted at 14.
Each team made minor changes to their tactics coming out of the half. Como-Pickton kept rotating the ball around the perimeter to loosen the hounding Alba-Golden zone defense, while the Lady Panthers continued to contest every pass.
Erin Langston scored twice in the closing moments of the third quarter to give Alba-Golden a 27-24 lead. The second score came after some amazing hustle by Wright to regain possession of a loose ball in the offensive zone.
Each team applied periodic full-court pressure in the final quarter. The Lady Panthers went up by four points when they broke the Lady Eagles press. Langston found Wilmut on a pass ahead, and she finished at the basket.
The game was tied at 33 when a Como-Pickton post player was called for a technical foul for wind-milling elbows.
Lainey Teel put the Lady Panthers up 36-33 with a steal and following offensive rebound put-back. Teel had steals on consecutive passages of play in the defensive zone. It seemed as if Alba-Golden was on their way to securing that important opening-district win.
With three minutes to play, the Alba-Golden confidence evaporated. Como-Pickton scored on an inside bucket and then registered consecutive 3-pointers. Two Alba-Golden turnovers in the offensive zone and three front-end misses on 1-and-1 opportunities at the free throw line doomed the Lady Panthers.
The late game confidence had slid decisively to the Como-Pickton side of the gym.
Despite the loss, there were great indicators of a successful season ahead. The Lady Panthers are moments away from seeing that critical confidence carry them through the final buzzer. Against Como-Pickton, they physically out-competed the visitors, but at those critical late junctures could not get the ball to fall through the hoop.
The next opportunity to see the Lady Panthers at home will be Tuesday, Jan. 3 when they host Fruitvale.