The Monument-Dayville girls matched up well with the Panthers in Prairie City on Jan. 6, holding their own in a first half that ended tied at 18 before seeing the game slowly slip away in the final quarters. The Panthers topped the Tigers 46-36.
While the Panthers struggled in the first half, taking tough shots and scoring off their rebounds, the Tigers ran their plays and controlled the ball on offense. They also outrebounded the Panthers in the first half, but foul trouble impacted the smaller Tiger team early on.
Both teams saw players at the free-throw line, however, with the Panthers going six of 14 and the Tigers going five of 13 in a scrappy game. Prairie City was up 11-9 at the end of the first quarter, as both teams vied for the lead.
“We missed a few open shots we’d normally make,” Tiger coach Taylor Schmadeka said.
The Tigers went to the full-court press late in the third quarter and narrowed the margin at 26-25 with a 3-pointer by sophomore Denali Twehues. But the Panthers’ offensive game stepped up with better outside shooting, including a 3-pointer, and Prairie City ended the quarter ahead 35-29.
“We played with more intensity in the second half,” Prairie City coach Bo Workman said. “Our shots were falling, and our defense stopped them from getting the shots they wanted.”
Senior Brianna Zweygardt led Prairie City with 13 points, followed by freshman Samantha Workman and senior Cassie Hire, each with 9 points and a 3-pointer. Sophomore Rilee Emmel had 6 points, senior Megan Camarena had 4, sophomore Emily Ennis had 3 and sophomore Hailee Wall had 2.
“We stopped rebounding in the second half,” coach Schmadeka said. “Our defense was better in the first half, but we got lazy in the second half, not sticking with our assignments.”
Senior Danielle Rhoda led the Tigers with 12 points, followed by junior Kyla Emerson with 9, Twehues with 7, junior Faythe Schafer with 6 and sophomore Aubrey Bowlus with 2.
“We had two players in foul trouble,” coach Schmadeka said. “Denali fouled out, and that hurt us.”
“They’re a tough team,” coach Workman said about the Tigers. “They never gave up.”
Next up for the Panthers are three league games: the 6-7 Crane Mustangs away at 6 p.m. Jan. 12, the 4-4 Harper Hornets away at 2 p.m. MT Jan. 13 and the 0-6 Burnt River Bulls at home at 4 p.m. Jan. 16.
For the Tigers, next up are the Grant Union JV in a nonleague away game Jan. 9, past press time, and the 0-6 Burnt River Bulls at home in Monument at 6 p.m. Jan. 12.
“Tough losses like this let you know what to work on to get ready for the next game,” coach Schmadeka said. “I’m not sure how we’ll do against Grant Union’s JV. It depends on how many swing varsity players will play.”