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  • Keith Hjelle

Panthers Continue Dominance Over Charger BB Teams; Girls 52-48, Boys 81-66

This observer recalls having a conversation in the not too distant past with the late Harley "Hap" Merit, long time superintendent of the Guthrie Center school system. We were discussing the inability of the Guthrie Center Tiger athletic teams to defeat the neighboring Panorama Panther teams. During our conversation Merit said something to this effect: "We used to beat Panora in everything. Now we don't beat them in anything." Merit's observation referred to pre ACGC athletics but unfortunately the trend has continued into the history of ACGC vs. Panorama athletics. Last night the Panthers upended the Chargers in both varsity basketball games played on the Charger home court by scores of 52-48 in an intense girls' game, and by 81-66 in an equally hard fought boys' game.

The Charger boys can claim one victory over Panorama in basketball--a 47-43 win in the inaugural 2016-17 school year of ACGC athletics. The girls have yet to defeat the Panthers and have lost by an average of thirty points to the Panthers in seven games. Both Charger teams gave it a go last night, but fell short of victory in the heated rivalry.

The girls' game was nip and tuck throughout as neither team was able to pull away. The Panthers opened the game with two three pointers to take a 6-0 lead, but the Charger defense held the visitors scoreless for nearly five and a half minutes and ACGC came out of the first quarter with a 10-8 lead. The Chargers got into foul trouble early and the problem persisted throughout the contest.

Both teams picked up the pace in the second stanza with the Panthers scoring eighteen and the Chargers sixteen to knot the score at halftime, 26-26. Alaina Bunde's ten points paced the Charger scoring in the first half, with Kennedy and Kylie Young, Jorja Hoover, and EmmaKay McClain also scoring in the first sixteen minutes.

Nothing changed in the second half, as the large crowd was entertained with a back and forth contest between the rivals. Neither team was able to put together any kind of a run, although the Panthers did take a 36-30 lead with 3:20 left in the third quarter. But again the Charger defense clamped down and held the Panthers scoreless the rest of the quarter. With Hoover, Kylie Young, and Saige O'Brien each scoring in the final 1:45 of the quarter, the score was again tied at 36 apiece heading into the final frame.

It didn't seem like a game changer at the time, but when Panther sophomore Laci Rishel scored with just under six minutes to go and gave the visitors a one point lead at 41-40, the Panthers kept the lead to the final buzzer. Make no mistake, ACGC was always within striking distance, but couldn't quite get over the hump.

When Hoover scored with just over a minute remaining it was a one point game again with the Panthers up 49-48. Hoover's layup in traffic was the last score by the home team, and the Chargers could only watch as the neighbors to the east made three of four charity tosses in the final forty seconds to seal the win, 52-48. Panorama made just one field goal in the last 5:45 of the game, but converted on twelve of seventeen free throws going down the stretch to take home the victory prize.

Three Chargers reached double figures in scoring with Bunde leading with thirteen points. The Charger sophomore also snared ten rebounds to score a double double. Jorja Hoover also had a double double as she scored twelve points and grabbed ten rebounds. EmmaKaye McClain came through with ten points and dished out seven assists and had three steals.

ACGC shot 40% from the field, making 19 of 47 attempts, but did not convert on any of its five three point tires. The team made ten of sixteen free throws for 63%. The Panorama pressure defense resulted in a season high thirty one turnovers that enabled the visitors to score nineteen points.

The loss saw the team's season record fall to 4-3 and its WCAC mark go to 3-2. Their appears to be more balance in the conference this year than in years past. Should make for an interesting post holiday season.

Coach Baudler had good things to say about his team's play. "We played a lot better on defense, forced twenty two turnovers and out rebounded them. But we didn't get many three shot attempts. Toward the end we got ourselves in foul trouble, but still had a chance to win on a late game missed shot. The girls are starting to believe and are embracing this process of building a winning culture. They continue to find ways to impress me and make me feel honored to be their coach."

A first quarter (that the Charger boys would like to have back) created a hill too hard to climb as the visitors raced to a 23-11 lead after the first eight minutes. While the Panthers made eight of thirteen shots (including three treys) in the first quarter, ACGC didn't score until nearly half the quarter was gone when Lucas Marsh scored to make it 11-2 in favor of the Panthers. The locals battled back in the second quarter to close the gap to 27-23 when Eli Kading made two free throws with just over three minutes remaining until halftime. The Chargers were still within striking distance at the intermission, trailing by a 33-25 score. Solid free throw shooting helped the Chargers stay close, as they converted on seven of eight in the second quarter.

Panorama increased the lead to twelve by the end of the third quarter, as Panther Malachi Peasley connected on three long balls to lead the visitors to a 57-45 lead. The Chargers managed a good offensive quarter, scoring twenty points, with the elder Kading collecting nine of those.

After Panorama increased its lead to 60-45 to open the final frame, Charger senior Bryce Littler scored eight consecutive points to close the deficit to 60-53. The teams battled evenly over the next three minutes, with the Panthers holding onto that seven point margin at 73-66 with two minutes remaining. Forced to foul to stop the clock, the Chargers put Peasley at the line four times where the Panther guard connected on eight consecutive free throws to seal the 81-66 win for Panorama.

After the dismal first quarter for the Chargers, the game was virtually a tie, with the Panthers scoring fifty eight points and the Chargers fifty six. A great night of shooting by Panorama was a significant factor in the Panther win as the visitors connected on 26 of 54 shots that included 13 makes out of 28 three point tries and 16 successful free throws out of 21 attempts.

Four chargers scored in double figures, as Littler went for eighteen, Quynton Younker thirteen, Ben Marsh twelve, and Eli Kading eleven. Eli Kading led the team in rebounds with six, while brother brother Miles and Younker each had three assists. Miles also led in steals with three.

ACGC made 20 out of 46 field goal attempts for 43% including 6 of 19 shots from beyond the arc. The Chargers shot well from the charity stripe, as they made 20 of 25 for 80%.

With the loss, the Charger overall record falls to 1-5, including a 0-5 mark in WCAC play.

The Charger teams are off for the holidays and will return to action on Friday, January 3 when they will entertain West Central Valley in a girl/boys doubleheader. Girls' game time is 6 PM with the boys' game to follow. Go Chargers!

Girls' score by quarter: Boys score by quarter:

Panorama 8 18 10 16--52 Panorama 23 10 24 24--81

ACGC 12 14 10 12--48 ACGC 11 14 20 22--66



Lemke 0-2 0-0 0-0 0-4 1 2 0 EKading 2-5 0-2 7-8 2-4 2 0 11

Campbell 0-3 0-3 0-0 0-3 0 1 0 BMarsh 3-5 0-2 6-7 1-1 1 1 12

Dorsey 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Crawford 1-6 0-2 0-0 0-1 0 0 2

Hoover 6-11 0-0 0-1 4-6 2 2 12 LMarsh 1-3 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 2

KyYoung 1-7 0-1 3-3 2-1 2 1 5 MKading 3-4 2-3 0-0 0-1 3 3 8

McClain 3-9 0-1 4-6 1-4 7 3 10 Wardyn 0-4 0-3 0-0 0-3 0 1 0

Bunde 5-8 0-0 3-6 2-4 0 1 13 BryLittler 6-11 4-7 2-4 0-4 0 2 18

O'Brien 1-2 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 2 Younker 4-8 0-1 5-5 1-3 3 0 13

KeYoung 3-6 0-0 0-0 1-4 1 1 6

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