It was a good start for the Paradise Lady Panthers Tuesday, but they were unable to keep up with the No. 2 Brock Eagles, who eventually pulled away for a 61-35 win.The Lady Panthers held their own early, taking a 5-2 lead with a Makayla Neighbors 3-pointer two minutes into the game. Paradise’s lead did not last long, as Brock’s Braylee Flaska hit a lay-up with five minutes left in the first to give the Eagles a 6-5 lead – they never trailed again.
“[Defensively] We got what we fully expected,” Paradise coach Eddie Fortenberry said. “Our guards have to shoot well, or we are sunk. We just didn’t play well and had too many dumb mistakes.”
Brock extended their lead to 15-9 at the end of the first quarter. Trailing 23-12 midway through the second frame, Paradise started clawing their way back into it.
A 3-pointer from Madeline Runnels capped off an 8-2 run for Paradise, bringing them within fire, 25-20. Brock never allowed the Lady Panthers to get any closer. The Eagles increased their lead to 29-20 at the half.
Paradise struggles continued in the second half as Brock continued to pull away. The Lady Panthers only scored six points in the third quarter and got outscored, 18-9 in the final period.
The loss evens Paradise’s district record at 1-1, and Fortenberry knows the road won’t get any easier from here.
“It is probably the toughest Class 2A district in the state,” Fortenberry said. “That makes it tough, especially when you are trying to turn a program around, because we are not a bad team.”
Kaylee McConnell led the scoring for Paradise with 12. Neighbors finished with 10, and Courtney Kerr added four. Runnels and Makenna Burt each tossed in three.
Brock was led by sophomore Lexie Ducat with 20 and Cora Jenkins with 18.