Second half collapse dooms Lady Panthers

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, January 19, 2018.
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For at least the first half Friday night, the Paradise Lady Panthers’ upset bid remained intact.

Duking it out with Bowie – who is undefeated in District 8-3A – Paradise came out swinging. The Lady Panthers knocked down five 3-pointers in the first half to jump out to a 24-17 halftime lead.

Then the Lady Jackrabbits counter-punched.

Behind an 11-0 run to start the third quarter, Bowie quickly shifted momentum and came away with a 45-34 victory to remain undefeated in district play.

“Bowie turned it up and we didn’t,” said Paradise coach Chad Woodard. “Bowie’s intensity on defense stepped up and we did not. We’ve got to learn how to respond and still run our sets and believe in them and score no matter what defense we’re going against. We’ve got to execute our offense.”

Paradise turned the ball over on its first four possessions of the second half to help Bowie mount its run. The Lady Panthers often forced the issue on offense, dribbling into the teeth of the Lady Jackrabbits’ defense.

With minimal floor spacing, Bowie’s defense collapsed and took away the drive. Unable to adjust, Paradise scored just two points in the third quarter and committed over 10 turnovers on the night.

“I credit a lot to Bowie,” said Woodard of Paradise’s second half struggles. “I’ve got to have players step up and in big moments make plays. And we will. There’s a lot of basketball left.”

Hannah Beth Pearson led the Lady Panthers in scoring with 11 points and was the only Paradise player to end in double figures. Hunter Rogers added eight points and seven rebounds while Maddie Mitschke tallied five points and eight rebounds.

Bowie’s Kamryn Campbell led all scorers with 22 and was responsible for all 10 of the Lady Jackrabbits’ first quarter points.

The Lady Panthers have now lost three games in a row, falling to 15-10 on the season and 5-4 in district play. Paradise and Holliday are currently tied for the fourth and final playoff spot in District 8-3A, but the Lady Panthers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. Those two meet again Friday, Feb. 2 in Holliday.

Next up for Paradise, however, is a rivalry bout with Boyd at home on Tuesday.

“Every game from here on out is big,” Woodard said. “I don’t care who it is. Boyd coming in the house is not going to be easy, but we’ll be ready, and we’ll see what happens.”

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