At halftime Thursday night, Paradise post Makenna Burt asked her teammates to work the ball inside to her in the second half.
Burt then delivered when the other Lady Panthers’ fulfilled her request, scoring 11 of her game-high 19 points in the second half to lead Paradise to a 49-35 win over Era in the first round of the Highway 114 Tournament in Bridgeport.
Burt added 11 rebounds to finish with a double-double.
Her offensive rebound and putback with 3:25 remaining gave the Lady Panthers’ a 44-33 lead. It came just 16 seconds after Era had trimmed a 12-point deficit to nine with a Logan Knabe three-pointer.
Paradise sophomore Makala Neighbors added 12 points, despite missing a large part of the second half after taking a hard fall.
Freshman Kaylee McConnell played significant minutes at point guard in the second half. She finished with seven points and seven rebounds.
Paradise broke a tie at 13 with five minutes left in the first half on a Burt putback. That started an 8-0 run that allowed the Lady Panthers to take a 25-19 halftime lead.
Era crept within four midway through the third, but could get no closer.