Lady Panthers snap losing skid, sweep season series from rival Boyd

By Reece Waddell | Published Tuesday, January 23, 2018.
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The Paradise Lady Panthers and Boyd Lady Jackets entered Tuesday’s rivalry matchup with plenty at stake.

On a three-game losing skid, the Lady Panthers risked falling out of the playoff picture with a loss to the rival Lady Jackets. Needing to keep pace with Holliday, Paradise found themselves tied with Boyd at halftime.

Desperate for a spark, the Lady Panthers turned to Kaycee Martin and Maddie Mitschke, who took the game over on both ends of the floor. Behind Martin’s streaky shooting and Mitschke’s ability to clean the glass, Paradise edged Boyd 42-33 to stay in the thick of the playoff hunt.

“We had to have this one,” said Paradise coach Chad Woodard. “I didn’t want to call it a must-win, but it was. Boyd came ready to play. It’s a rivalry game. Coach [Erica] Warner had them ready. [Paytin] Bullard is a player. But I’m going to take my team in big moments.”

Martin led Paradise in scoring with 14 points, knocking down two clutch 3-pointers. Mitschke finished two assists shy of a triple-double with 12 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists.

The Lady Jackets were unable to keep Mitschke off the boards all night, as she came down with several timely rebounds that resulted in second and third chances. With under two minutes left in the fourth, Mitschke corralled a missed shot and made a layup in traffic to put Paradise up seven and seal the victory.

“She’s got a knack for rebounding,” Woodard said. “She knows how to get to the ball. She puts her mind to it and she really does a good job of owning the boards.”

Meanwhile, Boyd guard Paytin Bullard finished with a game-high 22 points, accounting for 66 percent of the Lady Jackets’ points. Of the eleven points Boyd managed in the second half, Bullard scored nine of them.

Despite this, Paradise overcame Bullard’s offense onslaught to get the win and sweep the season series from the Lady Jackets.

“You have no idea, we wanted to beat them really bad,” Mitschke said.

The victory moved Paradise to 16-10 on the season and 6-4 in District 8-3A. The Lady Panthers currently own the fourth and final playoff spot in district, as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over Holliday.

As for Boyd, the loss all but eliminates them from postseason contention. At 6-19 and 2-8 in district, the Lady Jackets are four games out of the final playoff spot with four games remaining.

“We did really good as a team and we finished together,” Mitschke said. “We’ve been having trouble finishing four [quarters] and we did it today.”

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