Lady Panthers withstand challenge from winless Mustangs
ORANGE CITY — George-Little Rock certainly didn’t look the part of being a winless team as they provided a few challenges for the Class 1A No. 11 ranked Kingsley-Pierson girls basketball team. While the Panthers did emerge victorious in Thursday’s game held at the Bultman Center at Northwestern College, it wasn’t by as big of margin as one might have expected in a 61-47 final.
The game was close through a quarter as the teams traded a handful of baskets resulting in a 6-4 lead after a quarter. Some missed passes in the first quarter led to some of the struggles for the Panthers in the opening quarter according to senior Jayde Barto.
“The beginning was pretty slow,” Barto said. “Our issue is that sometimes we forget to make eye contact and we see it’s there, but we don’t make eye contact with our teammate. Towards the second half, we started seeing each other.”
The Panthers finally got their offense going in the second quarter where they outscored their opponent 22-10 with a 16-0 run giving the team the separation they needed for the win.
Rachel Bohle started off the big scoring run with an old-fashioned 3-point play, Brooklyn Beery knocked one down from beyond the arc, Barto got a steal and layup and Beery followed with a steal and layup of her own to force a timeout with the score now in favor of the Panthers 22-11. Barto said the team’s defense started to work to get points in transition.
“We were able to pressure and we were rotating perfectly,” Barto said. “We’re actually very top-heavy in the front court and I think that helped us get the steals. We were able to rotate and we knew once we helped with somebody else’s girl to get off and get back to our own which caused some steals.”
Mackensie Post finally ended the run with less than 30 seconds left in the first half on a 3-pointer. She led the Mustangs with 25 points in the game.
The Panthers pulled away a bit further with a 10-point advantage in the third quarter before the Mustangs outscored the Panthers by the same amount in the fourth quarter as over half of their 47 total points came in the final frame. The Mustangs applied pressure a bit more effectively in the fourth quarter to score their points.
Leading the way in scoring for the Panthers was Barto with 25 points as she was 9-of-16 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. Most of her makes were on layups or shots in the paint and she credited her teammates with getting her the ball with good looks underneath.
“It’s really nice because I can rely on my teammates seeing me down there,” Barto said. “I can rely on them getting the steal and passing it up.”
Barto ended with a double-double as she pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with her points. She also led the team with five steals and tied Hayden Dunne for most assists with three.
Delaney Iseminger was the team’s other double digit scorer with 14 points as she had two of the team’s three makes from 3-point range. Beery and McKenzie Goodwin added seven points apiece for the Panthers.
The Panthers take an 8-1 record into the winter break. Barto said she likes the way her team is playing, but knows there is work to be done in the second half of the season to make a postseason run.
“I’m happy with the note we ended on for 2019. I feel really good, but I know we can be a lot better,” Barto said. “Our defense is really good, but if we could just get our offense going we could just go all day. But I’m really impressed with my team. We’re doing great and we have a lot of underclassmen, juniors and they’re doing a good job of helping us seniors out.”
The Panthers will return to action Thursday, Jan. 9 at Remsen St. Mary’s.
K-P: (Individual) Points- Barto 25, Iseminger 14, Beery 7, Goodwin 7, Bohle 5, Kraft 2, Reinking 1; Rebounds- Barto 10, Dunne 5, Goodiwn 5; Assists- Dunne 3, Barto 3; Steals- Barto 5, Beery 3; Blocks- Iseminger 2, Beery 1, Barto 1, Peschau 1; (Team) FG 22-53, 3ptFG 3-14, FT 14-23, OFF-DEF REB 10-21—31, AST 10, STL 14, BLK 5.