The Saratoga Sun -

Chipping in

Entire Lady Panthers team involved in home win versus Hanna


Max Miller

A strangely-angled hit on the rim turns a rebound into an impromptu act of partner juggling.

After an extended break, sports teams can return to play rusty and out of practice, or rejuvenated and fresh of foot. In posting a dominant 39-17 Jan. 7 win over the Hanna Elk Mountain (HEM) Miners after the holiday vacation, the Saratoga Panthers girls basketball team made a solid argument for the latter case.

"I think we came out pretty strong," coach Heather Bartlett said after the game. The Panthers leapt out to an early lead and never relinquished it, allowing Bartlett an opportunity to tinker with her team and give her backup players valuable floor-time. "We were able to get everybody in that game, (and) get everyone some good playing time," Bartlett continued.

As usual for the Panthers, five seniors started the game, but Bartlett started subbing them out before the end of the first half. Bartlett said she liked what she saw from the bench, too.

"We had really balanced scoring this time," Bartlett said, citing 10 points from senior Meredith Lincoln, 7 points from freshman Aubrey Berger and 6 points from Sarah Burton. Bartlett called Berger's freshman effort a stand-out, noting the youngster finished second in points for the team.

A solid defensive effort that kept the game well out of reach may have given Berger the opportunity to make that statement. "We had some really good steals and some really good fast-breaks," Bartlett recalled. She called defense one of the Panthers' strong suits, and also credited the win to her team's good attendance at open gym scrimmages over the holidays.

Max Miller

Netters of all stripes crash the boards after a free throw Saturday.

Bartlett thinks her Panthers will face a different sort of challenge in upcoming matchups against Farson-Eden Jan. 13 and Cokeville Jan. 14. She should know: Bartlett lived and coached in Cokeville for four years, and counts the Cokeville coach among her friends.

"(The Cokeville coach) has coached for 30 years, so you pretty well know what to expect from him, typically," Bartlett said. Sounding a touch apprehensive, she ticked-off three of Cokeville's trademarks: "We're expecting to get pressed; We're expecting them to run a good fastbreak; We're expecting man-to-man defense."

The overnight road trip "will be the start of our conference play and a tough weekend," Bartlett said. If Saratoga can continue playing level-headed, fundamentally strong basketball, they will have a good shot at two W's nonetheless.


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