The Monument-Dayville girls came out strong against the Prairie City Panthers in their second 1A High Desert League matchup Friday in Dayville, but the Panthers crept ahead in the second half and won the game 37-27.

The Panthers were 5-3 in the league going in, while the Tigers were 3-5, and the outcome was similar to the Jan. 6 game in Prairie City, where the Panthers won 46-36.

The Tigers scored first in Dayville, with senior Danielle Rhoda putting up 2 points on a layup. The Panthers followed with two baskets — including a 3-pointer by senior Cassie Hire to make it 5-2.

Tiger junior Faythe Schafer then stole the ball and drove it the length of the court for the layup, and Rhoda added another 2 with a layup to end the first quarter with the Tigers ahead 8-7.

Schafer, who played well at both ends of the court, drained three free-throws in the middle of the second quarter to give the Tigers a 1-point lead. Monument-Dayville’s tight defense held for the rest of the half, which ended with the Tigers ahead 16-14.

The second half opened with another steal by Schafer and a pass to Rhoda, but the ball failed to drop. Panther senior Brianna Zweygardt drained an outside shot to tie the game.

Following scrappy play under the boards, Tiger junior Kyla Emerson snared an offensive rebound and put it back up, giving the Tigers a 2-point lead. But the Panthers came back, tying the game again.

Zweygardt’s basket put the Panthers ahead, and sophomore Rilee Emmel’s outside shot added to the lead, which was 24-20 when the third quarter ended.

Hire added to the lead with a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter to make it 27-20. Prairie City’s passes inside to Zweygardt, however, were knocked away by the tight Tiger defense.

With 3:20 left, Schafer knocked in a 3-pointer, narrowing the lead to 5 points. But the Panthers came back, with Hire driving for the hoop and dishing off to sophomore Hailee Wall, who scored. Schafer smoked another 3-pointer, bringing the game within 4 points as a timeout was called.

Wall scored next, giving the Panthers a 32-26 lead. The Tigers went to the full-court press, but the Panthers adjusted. Zweygardt scored on a layup, making it 35-27 with 36 seconds left. The long balls failed to drop for the Tigers, and the lead extended to 10 at the buzzer.

“I had my two scorers back, but it was hard for them to get their chemistry back,” Tigers coach Taylor Schmadeka said about Rhoda and Emerson, who had missed games. “We played good defense but didn’t rebound as well as we needed.”

The ball didn’t go in for either team, Panther coach Bo Workman said about the low score.

“Tough defense won the game,” he said. “But we’re in it to the end.”

Prairie City hosted Crane Saturday, the Panthers claiming a 38-34 win.

The Panthers are ranked No. 19 among OSAA 1A teams, and they are seeded fifth (4-6), followed by Harper (3-7), going into the Thursday through Saturday 1A-8 High Desert District Tournament at Grant Union Junior-Senior High School in John Day.

Jordan Valley is first in league at 10-0, Crane is second at 8-2 and Adrian and Prairie City are tied for third at 7-3.

The Tiger girls will face Adrian at 7 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the playoffs. The winner will face Crane at 1 p.m. Friday.

The top three teams advance to state competition.

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