Senior Night a Good Night for North
J. C. Tilton
It was senior night for the host Tri-County North Lady Panthers. They were hosting rival Twin Valley South. So there was a lot of emotion coming into the game. But the North team had lost a couple of games the week before, while South was coming off of a decisive win over the Carlisle Indians and so had a little momentum. Both teams had some lineup changes involving key players coming into the game. South had lost the services of senior guard Kali DuChemin for the remainder of the season. Meanwhile, North regained the services of senior Tiffany Daughtery who had been out the past few weeks due to illness and her return during this season had been in doubt. She would make her first game back on senior night a memorable one.
The game started with both teams nailing their shots. South was hitting from outside and North was answering, but ended the first quarter down 18-16. North opened with a zone defense, but switched to a man to man defense to put more pressure on the outside shooting of South. North used their half court trap sporadically during the game. South would try to press, but didn't have much success with it - mainly focusing on a half court defense.
With the outside game stymied, South turned to Kate Irvin in the second quarter, who led scoring for the team in that period. North's Rachel Heindl and Megan Thompson did all of the second quarter scoring for the host Panthers. Heindl tied the game at 22 apiece about midway thru the period and both players would score again to push North to a 30-24 halftime lead.
South made some defensive adjustments at halftime to put more pressure on Thompson and Heindl. North now needed some offense and Tiffany Daughter responded. The rust from the layoff was now gone and the senior put in not one, not two, but three treys in a row. This provided some much needed offense for the hosts, giving them an 11-2 run to start the half. At this point, senior Jennifer Bambeck was injured by a hard foul and had to spend the rest of this quarter on the bench. She would return in the fourth quarter. So while North's senior point guard was asserting herself, South lost court leadership at a critical time. South did try to rally with Whitney Wysong, Meg Newland, and Elizabeth Bambeck providing points to close out the quarter.
North went into the last stanza with an 11 point lead and maintained that lead to win the game. North's Brittany Mullins scored all of her points in the last quarter with Daughtery and Heindl scoring enough to keep the distance at 11. When the final horn sounded North had a senior night victory 54-43.
Coach Robinson of South had this to say, “Both teams in the first half shot the lights out. I don't know why we bring out the best in people, but it seems like we do. The first half for them was definitely Heindl and Thompson. And at half time we made some adjustments. We shut them down in the second half. Thompson didn't score and Heindl only had 4. We did that and then Daughtery started scoring - so they had people step up. It seemed like we were dry for quite awhile, we just couldn't get a shot to drop. I don't think we rebounded exceptionally well. This was our first game without Kali, it seemed like we were out of sync. But I give the credit, they moved the ball well and they shot real well.”
Coach Freisthler of North was pleased with the teams 10th victory, “It was a great senior night victory - Tiffany Daughter did well, Chelsea Tilton did well. The girls were excited coming into the game - about the most excited that I have seen them. They played hard, they hustled, they wanted to win for the seniors and they wanted to win because of the rivalry. This was Tiffany's first game back and that was big for them as well. She was able to practice with us for the past week. She has been on light practice per her doctors orders. In practice she has been on, but I thought her first game back she might be a little timid from getting injured possibly. The three's that she hit there in the third quarter definitely gave us the edge. It gave us a boost offensively. ”
Shooting: “In the first half, both Rachel Heindl and Megan Thompson were on. Sometimes we are down offensively and sometimes we up offensively, but we were looking at coming out strong for this game tonight.” On defensive adjustments, “We saw that they hit quite a bit from outside. Man to man is usually not what we play. So we worked on man to man this week so that we would be ready. When they were hitting against our zone, we went to the man to man and they did a really good job.”
Finally it was noted that several younger players got on the court, “The JV players come to practice every day just like everyone else. They practice just as hard as every one else. And unfortunately in a lot of games I just can't get them in. If we have to come from behind, or it's a really hard team. So I thought that I would make a conscious effort to try and get them in so that they can try to get better.”
On the 10th win, “I am really proud of these girls. I am so impressed with these girls from where we came from last year. You can see the difference in them. They have put a lot of hours in, our practices are long and really intense,” Comments email: Chris Tilton