Photo by Jennifer Biberston
Kennedy Kantola runs to take possession of the ball during their game against Crescent Valley on Jan. 4
As of Tuesday, January 8, 2019
INDEPENDENCE — It seemed that all of the confidence the Central girls basketball team came away with from the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona, played in late December, washed away in their match up against Crescent Valley Friday evening, where they fell 40-27.
“We just got out-played,” said head coach Julie McDonald. “… just didn’t compete at a level we should have.”
The No. 5 ranked Panthers (6-5 overall, 1-2 Mid-Willamette Conference) started strong from tipoff, and at the end of the first quarter, Crescent Valley (8-3 overall, 4-0 MWC) trailed 11-7.
That was the only time the Panthers maintained a lead throughout the contest.
Opening the second quarter, the Raiders came out aggressive and the Panthers couldn’t seem to match their energy. They got good looks at the basket, but a powerful line of defense from their opponents kept the Panthers from executing.
At halftime, the score was 20-17.
A total lack of head game is why the team struggled, said senior Faith Berry.
“I think mentally we weren’t there,” Berry said. “And, (in) Arizona, we started to step up our mental game because we didn’t know what to expect, so we go out 200 percent, and I think we just, we did not do that tonight. We’re a good team, but mentally we weren’t; and we weren’t playing with confidence.”
Senior Elizabeth Chavez led in scoring with 14 points, and nabbed 13 rebounds. Seniors Annika Riddell, Mariah Hyre and junior Meagan Mendazona each contributed four points. Mendazona also added six rebounds, and Riddell came away with five.
A weak offense may have been the team’s downfall, but they held the Raiders to low scoring for the night using a sturdy defensive streak.
Trailing by 10 to open the fourth quarter and outscored by seven, the Panthers only managed to nab four more points before the end of the game.
It wasn’t the outcome the team or McDonald wanted to see.
“We are a better team than what we showed on Friday,” she said. “We will learn from it and move on. Not playing a game in 13 days didn’t help the cause, but we should have been able to overcome that obstacle.”
In the locker room after the defeat, the team sat in a huddle for a long time, determined to rise from their loss, Berry said.
“We had a long talk in the locker room, and we talked about what we need to fix,” she said, “and I really think it’s just going to start in practice, and we’re just going to go and get after it.”