Lady Panthers end season 4th in division
The Park City Lady Panthers met up with the Wibaux Lady Longhorns in the first match of the Southern C Divisional tournament last Thursday night in Laurel.
The Panthers came out with determination right from tip-off. Shelby McMillen got the first 2 with a baseline jumper followed with 4 from Tehya Ray and 2 from Shelby Branstetter, putting the Panthers up 8-0. The Panthers continued to apply pressure and run the floor. The first quarter ended with a 3-pointer from Shelby Kluth to put the Panthers up 17-7.
The Panthers led by as much as 15 in the second quarter aided by 6 from Branstetter and 3 from MacKinzie Verke with only seconds left to end the half 30-18.
The third quarter was a challenge for Park City as the squad struggled with turnovers and rebounding, with the Longhorns outscoring the Panthers 10-6. The fourth quarter was an improvement, with Branstetter hitting another 6. Branstetter also lead with 11 rebounds. The Panthers were able to control the tempo, using up time especially in the last few minutes to go on to win 47-40.
The next night featured a battle against the Harlowton Lady Engineers. The Panthers split with the Engineers during regular season play. Both teams came out defending the ball well and it remained scoreless for the first 2.5 minutes until the Panthers got the upper hand and went on a 13-2 run to end the first quarter.
The Panthers continued to apply pressure and control time of possession, but the Engineers were able to answer in the second quarter, to pull within 8 at the end of the half. The Panthers came out with pressure again in the second half, but struggled, only shooting 16 percent from 2-point range and hitting no 3-pointers.
Harlowton, on the other hand, hit 40 percent and made 3 3-pointers — outscoring the Panthers 17-6 in the fourth. The Engineers went on to win 35-27, which put the Panthers in the loser-out game Saturday morning.
That loser-out game was against the Plenty Coups Lady Warriors. Plenty Coups was the first on the board and lead by 4 after the first guarter. Panther MacKinzie Verke got the fire going for her team and proved to be too much for the Warriors to handle. Verke scored 28 points, had 8 steals and 8 rebounds. Kluth, who was still recovering from the flu, contributed 9 points and 5 steals and Tehya Ray lead in rebounding with 10. The Panthers went on to win 48-36 and advance to the consolation round against Melstone.
The Panthers’ path to the state tournament rested in the next two games. Park City would need to beat the Melstone Lady Broncs and Harlowton would have to defeat Broadview/Lavina.
The Lady Broncs got on the board first with 7 unanswered points to put the Lady Panthers in catch-up mode. The Panthers chipped away, ending the quarter with a 3-pointer from MacKinzie Verke to get within 3 points as the buzzer sounded.
The second quarter was much the same as the Panthers were down by as many as 9 but came back within 5 with a 3-pointer from Shelby McMillen before the half ended 22-27. The Lady Broncs continued to capitalize on second chance shots in the second half that allowed them to go on to win 57-39.
The Panthers ended the season placing 4th in its division, 3rd in its district tournament, and 2nd in its conference.
Park City 17 13 6 11 – 47
Wibaux 7 11 10 12 – 40
S. Branstetter 16, M. Verke 12, B. Verke 5, T. Ray 4, S. Kluth 3, S. McMillen 3, B. Van Doren 2.
Park City 13 6 2 6 - 27
Harlowton 2 9 7 17 – 35
S. Branstetter 9, M. Verke 9, T. Ray 5, S. McMillen 2, B. Verke 2.
Park City 8 10 14 16 – 48
Plenty Coups 12 5 7 12 – 36
M. Verke 28, S. Kluth 9, S. Branstetter 7, B. Van Doren 2, T. Ray 2,
Park City 11 11 6 11 - 39
Melstone 14 13 16 14 – 57
S. Branstetter 13, M. Verke 11, S. McMillen 7, B. Van Doren 3, T. Ray 3, S. Kluth 2.