Panthers keep winning

Saratoga faced down all three teams with wins

The Saratoga Panther High School basketball team is proving they are a team to watch as the season unfolds.

Thursday night the team went to the Shoshoni Tournament and faced the host team first. “The Shoshoni game was a really good game for us,” Head coach Jason Williams said. “We only had three practices before that game and played them on their home court. The Wranglers have some pretty good athletes and we knew that going in.” Williams said he was pleased how the Panthers controlled the tempo of the game. The Panthers beat the team 72-61. The Wranglers are 5-1, suffering their only loss to the Panthers.

The next game on Friday morning the Panthers struggled, Williams said. “At the Dubois game, I felt like we played our best basketball all season in the 1st quarter and we turned around and played our worst in the 2nd quarter,” Williams said. “We had built up a pretty good lead in the 1st quarter and found ourselves tied at half-time. Then it was a battle after that.” Williams said when the team started missing shots, it snowballed into a lot of shots being missed.“We felt like we were getting some pretty good looks but we just couldn’t get anything in the basket,” Williams explained. “We started to get frustrated and Dubois started to get some momentum and get some shots. They are a team that has enough good shooters, they can shoot themselves back into a game pretty fast. That is exactly what we found happening when we thought we were starting to pull away in the 2nd half.” The Panthers took the game 68-64.

Dubois has struggled this season losing extremely close games against some of the best teams in the state. Their record does not indicate how good they are and being early in the season, could easily come back. They are currently 2-4.

Their last game of the tournament, the Panthers stayed ahead the entire game. “Against Riverside, we felt like we were in control the whole time,” Williams said. “We felt pretty confident, but we did struggle with some things, more than we should have. The game showed us things we need to work on.”

Williams complimented the Riverside team as a program that was improving. He said the Panthers had played them in the past few years and the team was getting much better. “They are a physical team and they pressed us,” Williams said. “We built up a pretty substantial lead in the 3rd quarter and to their credit, they came back within 10.” The Panthers won 72 to 56. The Rebels are 1-5.

Looking back at the three games, Williams was pleased with the balanced scoring of the team. “In the Riverside game, every player scored,” Williams said. “We have some depth with nine juniors and seniors, so we feel we can replace a player and lose nothing with the substitution. Moving forward, I feel that is very important.”

Williams said seeing the balanced scoring throughout the tournament gave him a feeling the team was going in the right direction. “The boys play hard and they give everything they got,” Williams said. “That is all I can ask for.”

Williams said the team will celebrate a little holiday cheer before the holidays start with a secret Santa and then go home for the holidays. “Then we will be right back on the 26th practicing,” Williams said. “It does feel good going into the new year 6 and 0.”

The Panthers will return to playing a team on January 6 at home against the Encampment Tigers who are 3-3.


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