The Lady Panthers caught fire in the fourth quarter and almost put away a game they trailed all afternoon Saturday. They ended up five points short of a win against the North Park Wildcats as the clock ran out on their rally.
“The girls all played very hard but we definitely didn’t play up to our abilities,” head coach Matt Love said.
Eight Panthers contributed on Saturday night with Shelby McGuire and Justine Fourman tallying 10 points apiece. The duo was all over the offensive effort scoring all of the 3-point baskets that night. McGuire racked up one and Fourman sunk two from the arc that helped ignite the Panthers in the fourth quarter.
The eventual 42-38 loss had some bright moments including the effort from freshman Mati Love. Love kept the Panthers in the game with three offensive rebounds, two rebounds on the other end of the court, three steals and three assists.
Sophomore Heather Oxford snagged six rebounds, three offensive and three defensive. Also, Oxford stole the ball twice, assisted once and scored four points in the battle.
Veronica Lincoln, Kelsie Samson, Taylor Smith and Taylor Miller all put up points against the Wildcats, but to no avail.
Haley Soles, Amber Young and Cruz Escobedo combined for 10 attempts all together, but couldn’t connect with the net. Soles and Escobedo both played in the J.V. game, and both scored in that match.
It took some time for Saratoga to settle into the game and slow the Wildcat onslaught. The Panthers took the ball away 11 times but couldn’t convert the steals to points.
“We took some great shots, (the ball) just wouldn’t fall for us,” Love said. “They shot very well from the free throw line, we didn’t.”
The Lady Panthers travel to Lusk on Friday and Pine Bluffs on Saturday for their first two conference games.
“The season is young and we have a lot of basketball ahead of us,” Love said, “so patience is the key. I have a lot of faith in these girls.”