The Saratoga Sun -

Valley teams battle for pigtails


Keith McLendon

Tigers, black, and Panthers mix it up in Saturday's contest of Valley Lady basketball teams.

Lady Panthers/Tigers

Lady Panthers versus Kaycee

The Lady Panthers squared off against Kaycee Friday night. Kaycee is no. 2 in their conference but the Lady Panthers seemingly had no problem controlling the game. Seniors Meredith Lincoln had 15 points while Katie Loose grabbed 9 boards in the 45-32 Saratoga win.

Lady Panther head coach Heather Bartlett said she was able to play some of the Freshman girls in the fourth quarter and, "It was just a really good game for us."

Valley Girls meet Saturday

Saturday night would see the Saratoga girls team face off against the Encampment girls.

The Saratoga squad had double pressure on them as a win would grant them a pigtail game in Lander-but unfortunately, they had also played the night before. Their opponent, the Lady Tigers, had not played in a week and had the opportunity for fresher legs and a better chance to prepare. The Lady Tigers could also play looser as they had nothing to lose, already having earned a spot at regionals.

The game started off as a battle in the paint with the Saratoga team getting hard rebounds and displaying sharp shooting to make the score 9-6 Saratoga after the first period.

The Lady Panthers would score the first basket of the second period only to have the Lady Tigers run off 18 straight. The Lady Panthers would not score again until making a single free throw in the final minutes of the half. Halftime score: 12-24 Encampment.

Both teams came out with determination to start the second half and battled very closely with both sides defending well and getting good rebounds. The Lady Tigers only outscoring the Lady Panthers by one for a 17-30 Encampment lead after three quarters.

The Lady Panthers seemed to tighten up in the fourth quarter, missing the majority of their perimeter shots, while the Lady Tigers remained at ease from the outside and competent from close-up, hitting several in-stride layups. While the offense was the difference, both teams still played tough defense and had numerous deflections and steals.

The bad news for a weary Lady Panthers team: a 21-50 loss and an end to their season.

Of the season, Panthers Head coach Heather Bartlett showed pride in her team saying she felt, "We were one of the top eight 1A teams in the state even though we aren't going to get to show that."

The Lady Tigers are heading to regionals to face the Dubois Lady Rams at 2 p.m. in Lander.


Panthers at Kaycee

The Saratoga boy's team met the Kaycee Buckaroos Friday.

Coach Jason Williams said of the 32-73 loss, "They shot really well, we didn't."Williams added that Kaycee "... had a kid go 5 for 5 on three pointers in the first quarter. and we just never recovered."

Home pigtail?

The Boys' Valley Cat teams met for the last game of the regular season Saturday night. At stake?: Who got homecourt advantage for a pigtail game that was held Monday night.

Saturday's game started off as a defensive battle. Though the Tigers scored first, the Panthers would show no ill effects from playing in back-to-back games and scored on good rebounding to win the first quarter 13-8.

The Tigers responded to start the second with a 3-pointer. The rest of the quarter was comprised of a plethora of fouls with the Panthers hitting just enough of their free throws to keep the lead. The score heading into the lockers rooms was 28-20 Saratoga.

Saratoga took control in the third period using tough defense to fuel their scoring run. Deflections and blocks by the Panthers caused Tiger turnovers which led to some good downcourt passing and several fast break points for the Panthers. After three stanzas the Panthers led the Tigers by a score of 52-32.

Though it seemed the Panthers were firmly in control with a 22-point lead in the fourth, The Tigers would make a flurry of baskets midway through the period. Using hard-nosed backcourt defense, the Tigers would cause a series of Panther miscues leading to easy Tiger scores. With 1:20 left in the game the Tigers had cut the lead to 11.

The Panthers would end the game by making some timely baskets and earning points from the charity stripe. The final: 70-55 Saratoga.

Due to the win, Saratoga gained homecourt advantage against Encampment again Monday for a pigtail game.

Monday, Monday

Saratoga High School Boys' basketball team hosted their Valley rivals, the Encampment Tigers in Saratoga Monday for a second pigtail game that determined which of the two teams would travel to regionals this weekend. Despite the spirit with which they played, Encampment went on to lose the game by a score of 75-47, ending the team's hopes for the postseason which begins this weekend with regionals. The Panthers put themselves on the scoreboard first and never looked back, leading the Tigers in scoring for almost the entire affair, much to the delight of the crowd in attendance. The Panthers came out of the gate strong against the Tigers whose height disadvantage was evident on the hardwood.

The first quarter ended with Saratoga up 12-8 against Encampment. At the beginning of the second period, the Tigers came out with gusto, not giving up points and scoring several of their own, eventually tying the game 12-12 thanks to successful free throws by Encampment's Reid Schroeder.

FW Broschart

Max Schneider gets a block early in Monday's pigtail win.

The tie was not long for this world, however, and soon evaporated into a points deficit for the Tigers that would persist for the rest of the game. That notwithstanding, the second quarter of the game seemed to be the strongest for Encampment who fought hard and ended the quarter with a score of 31-23, after holding the Panthers to within five for most of the quarter.

In the second half, Saratoga came out fighting, and quickly ran the score from 31-23 at the beginning to a score of 52-30 by the beginning of the fourth quarter. Saratoga then went on to finish the game 75-47, scoring 23 points for the Tigers' 17.

After the game ended and the crowd began to leave, a roar erupted from the Panthers' locker room.

The Saratoga Panthers now face the Burlington Huskies Thursday afternoon in Lander.


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