The Panthers put out the fire

Annika Riddell fights to score a basket during the Friday game against Dallas.

Photo by Jennifer Biberston
Annika Riddell fights to score a basket during the Friday game against Dallas.

INDEPENDENCE — The Central girls basketball team (11-1, Mid-Willamette Conference, 20-2) put out the fire Friday night in a Polk County rivalry game against the Dallas Dragons (2-10, MWC, 8-13), winning 52-43.

It was a back-and-forth kind of game during the first half, with the Panthers up by six at the end of the second quarter.

Meagan Mendazona scored 12 points, had 13 rebounds and four assists.

Elizabeth Chavez added 11 points with four assists and three steals. Lexy Barba contributed nine points and five assists; Annika Riddell also scored nine points, and had seven rebounds.

For Polk County, this game is a big one because it is the two Polk County High Schools going to battle against each other. The Panther Pit was teeming with fans, parents, friends, and others who came out to witness the rivalry.

“It’s just a Polk County rivalry with Dallas that we’ve had forever,” Central coach Julie McDonald said. “It’s fun to come out and play these games, and get the crowd and get the fans out, a lot of the old-timers come back, and they like to watch the game; it’s exciting. Both teams come and compete, and compete hard, and I enjoy it.”

While both teams fought hard, the Panthers locked in their defense and kept their eye on their overall goal: win the game. “It’s always an intense game to play against Dallas,” junior Elizabeth Chavez said. “We always know that they’re gonna bring their A game, and we have to bring ours, so we already knew what was coming, so we had to stay really focused.”

The rivalry game is one that Polk County residents look forward to, which could have resulted in added pressure for the basketball teams. Central, however, didn’t seem to let any of that extra pressure affect them.

“We take each game at a time so they each feel the same to us.” Chavez said.

Despite the exciting win, McDonald always looks for ways to improve.

“There are things that we still need to work on,” McDonald said. “We’re still not shooting the ball that well so if we could do that better, that’d be good.”

Overall, McDonald seems to be proud of her team. “We’re working hard, we’re hustling and that’s the main thing.”

Tuesday they travel to play against Silverton after press time.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.