The Saratoga Sun -

Lady Panthers close season

Saratoga girls fall to Lady Pronghorns in regional quad


While the Saratoga Lady Panthers had made significant strides in previous seasons towards making appearances at the 1A State Basketball Championship, this season was cut short due in part to the modified regional format and a loss to the Farson-Eden Lady Pronghorns.

“I’m not going to pretend like we aren’t disappointed with how the end of the season turned out,” said Heather Bartlett, head coach of the Lady Panthers. “I felt the regional format for this year was so unfair, not just for us but for many teams through the state in all classes.”

Bartlett added that being unable to do cross-bracket play was difficult as well. Due to the modified regional format, girls teams from the 1A Southwest Conference played in Farson-Eden. While, in past regional tournaments, teams would have a chance to play through the consolation bracket no such bracket existed in the conference quad format.

“I felt like we would have had a great chance at beating the teams from the North if we would have been given an opportunity,” Bartlett said. “That being, the girls played really hard against Farson on Wednesday.”

Going into the postseason game, Saratoga and the Lady Pronghorns were tied for the No. 2 spot. In the final season of the regular game, the Lady Panthers had dealt a loss to Farson-Eden when they visited the Panther Den. Unfortunately, the Lady Pronghorns would take a win from Saratoga.

“I have always told the girls that I won’t ever be upset if they play their hardest. I felt like the girls all gave me their best effort against Farson and that is all I can ask of them,” said Bartlett. “The ball just didn’t fall for us the way we needed it to and, to Farson’s credit, they are a great team and they shot really well against us.”

Whitney Bennett led the Lady Panthers against Farson-Eden as she scored 13 points and had 14 rebounds and 2 steals. Savannah Wells followed with 8 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 4 assists. Sam Fiedor scored 6 points and had 3 rebounds and was followed by Oliva Everett with 4 points and 1 rebound. Shelby Knotwell scored 3 points and had 3 rebounds and 1 assist, Tasia Daley scored 2 points and had 4 rebounds and 1 steal and Sam Duke had 2 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.

The final score was 38-50.

“The girls that had not shot well for them (Farson-Eden) consistently throughout the year stepped up and shot well against us in that regional game,” Bartlett said. “They came to play and were the better team on that day.”

The loss to the Lady Pronghorns brings an end to Saratoga’s season. While they won’t be making an appearance at the 1A State Basketball Tournament this year, Bartlett is looking at the silver linings.

“I felt like we had a really good season,” said Bartlett. “We tied for 2nd and 3rd in the conference and we were undefeated on our home court this year. We had some great wins on our home court against teams like Shoshoni, Encampment, Baggs and Farson. I felt like we had a great conference season this year, only losing two games in the regular conference season.”

Bartlett added that she was proud of both the girls and the season.

“It was a hard year and they stayed strong, never gave up and had a really good season despite the challenges,” Bartlett said.

Next season may prove better for the Lady Panthers. While they are losing experienced players such as Wells, Daley and Duke they are keeping other players who have received plenty of varsity experience such as Bennett, Fiedor and Everett.


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