MONUMENT – The Prairie City High School girls basketball team beat the Burnt River Lady Bulls 45-34 to take the championship of the Tiger Christmas Tournament, held in Monument Dec. 29-30.

 In the first game, on Dec. 29, the Lady Panthers beat the Grant Union High School junior varsity 43-22.

 This was the first game the Lady Panthers had played since the Joseph tournament before Christmas. Coach Penny Black noted that all athletes were out on the court. “The younger girls played some tough minutes against a young and talented Grant Union JV team,” she said.

 Katie Cary lead with 14 points, 2 defensive rebounds, 2 offensive rebounds, and 2 steals.

 Salona Mecham had 13 points, 5 defensive rebounds, 3 offensive rebounds, and 3 steals.

 Other statistics were:

 • Reagan Emmel: 4 points, 6 defensive rebounds, 4 offensive rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals;

 • Salem Fast: 4 points, 2 defensive rebounds, 1 offensive rebound, 2 steals;

 • Marika Woodbury: 1 assist, 1 steal;

 • Krystin Packard: 2 points, 2 defensive rebounds,1 assist;

 • Jade Evans: 4 points, 3 defensive rebounds; 2 offensive rebounds, 2 assists,1 steal;

 • Rachelle Hill: 2 points, 3 defensive rebounds, 2 offensive rebounds,1 steal;

 • Breanna Doty: 1 defensive rebound, 2 offensive rebounds;

 • Kailey Neal and Kelli Woodworth: 2 defensive rebounds each.

   Black said she knew the championship game with the Burnt River Lady Bulls would be a test, because they are a talented team. Two athletes were out of the rotation, due to sickness and family holiday traveling.

 Nevertheless, the starting five for the Lady Panthers jumped into the game with confidence, and were up to the challenge.

 “The girls were really in tune with each other, and really worked together beautifully, offensively and defensively,” said Black.

 “This was an all-out battle defensively, keeping Burnt River post Chelsea Bradford contained, but Katie Cary defended her with everything she had, keeping Bradford’s scoring to 12 points, which is still very good; she is capable of scoring a lot more,” Black said.

 “Manning up on Burnt River point guard Calina Kezerle, Salem Fast did a great job, showing extreme toughness against this very talented shooting point guard,” she said. Kezerle was kept to 1 point for the game.

 Teaming up with Salem was Salona Mecham, the Lady Panthers’ other guard. “They both showed a lot of heart and determination,” said Black.

 Emmel also had her hands full, guarding all-around athlete Whitni Anderson. Black said Anderson is “very dangerous inside the paint or outside.”

 “Anderson scored 21 points against us at the Prairie City Tip-Off Tournament, so Reagan knew she had to bear down and work hard. Reagan was able to keep Whitni at 12 points, a great accomplishment,” Black said.

Cheyenne Molt had a great game defending another great Lady Bull, shooter Lizzy Massingale, who had a great night of shooting the night before against Dayville/Monument. Cheyenne held her to only 3 points. ”

 “We worked hard throughout the game, only subbing twice. The offense flowed well, there was some good passing going on, with al ot of great assists. What a fantastic all out effort by the girls, they showed tremendous toughness and togetherness,” said Black. “We are proud of them.”

 Cary again led in scoring, with 13 points; Mecham and Emmel each had 11; Mecham led her teammates with 6 steals. Fast scored 6 points, and Cheyenne Molt, 4 points.

 “Our preseason games have been a great test for us,” said Black. “We’ve had some challenging games, and throughout December 2010, we saw many different ups and downs.”

 Now comes the real test.

 The Lady Panthers look forward to meeting Crane this Friday, Jan. 7.

 “Crane is rated in the top 3 in the state, and will be the ultimate test to how far we’ve come,” said Black. “I’m sure we are up for the challenge. There is no doubt in my mind that the Lady Panthers will hit the floor ready to give everything they have. It will be a good game.

 “This is also true for Harper. The Hornets were very tough last year, and should prove to a good matchup.”

 Both are home games. Friday’s varsity games start at 6 p.m. for the girls and 7:30 p.m. for the boys. Saturday’s action begins at 1 p.m. for the girls and 2:30 p.m. for the boys.

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