On Saturday the Lady Panthers secured a spot in the state tournament for the third year in a row defeating Sheridan 49-31 in the quarterfinals of the district tournament. The victory also completed an undefeated season for the first time on their home court. Advancing into the state tournament for three consecutive seasons is not only exciting but is a record for the program.
The Sheridan Rams came out strong showing tremendous hustle and the score was tied 9-9 at the end of the first quarter. The Panthers settled down in the second quarter and started to execute their game plan pushing the ball up the court offensively and playing strong pressure defense holding the Rams to 6 points. The score was 18-15 at the half. The Panthers came out after half time with a high intensity level and took control of the game. Both team captains, Joanna Eaton and Erin O'Connor lead the way. Joanna scored 14 points driving strong to the basket and pulled down 7 rebounds along with 4 steals. Erin also added 14 points on several power house plays under the basket, along with 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Kelly Allen played an impressive game as well scoring 9 points, adding 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Hailley Pedersen contributed 6 points and led the defense with her quick hands and anticipation creating 6 steals. Point guard Kayleigh Busse set the offensive tone with 5 assists adding 3 rebounds and 2 steals. Mary Acord came off the bench and contributed 3 points, 2 rebounds and a steal along with taking a charge stopping an offensive drive by the Rams. Ellis Linke added 3 rebounds and 2 points to the winning effort. Both Jessica Sanchez and Simona Senovaityte played strong defense altering Sheridan's offensive attack.
This is an exciting time for the Lady Panthers. They will play DSST next Thursday at 7:30 at Jefferson High School in the semi-finals of the district championship. DSST ended the regular season in first place in the Frontier League. They are a top ranked team in the 3A division. The Panthers plan to be ready to put it all on the court!