Panthers lose heartbreaker
WALSENBURG- The Panthers lost a thriller, 58-57, to league rival Crowley County last Thursday before a large crowd for Parent Appreciation Night. The Cats dominated the game until the last two minutes when the Chargers came back to take the lead with 22 seconds remaining.
The Panthers led by as many as 12 points late in the third but were unable to stop Crowley from charging back to steal one from the Panthers win column. Crowley’s comeback began late in the third when James Tapia hit his third 3-point shot of the game, followed by 3 from Elijah Martinez.
Throughout the game, both the Panther offense and defense did their job, playing their best ball of the season. They scored off fast breaks, driving the lanes as well as from the outside. They dominated the boards. When Coach Harriman barked such plays as ‘Go to Chicago,’ ‘Give me a kid,’ ‘Wild Cat‘ or the ’24,’ the Panthers shifted their position on the court to accommodate and anticipate the Chargers’ every move.
Charlie Whitehead out-muscled Crowley’s big man Corey Trujillo on rebounds and shut him down on man-to-man coverage. Zach Harriman played aggressive, in-your-face ball as he led the Panther attack down court. Jacob Wiggins was hot from the line while Steve Rodriquez hit from the outside. On the other side of the ball, the defensive protection of Tanner Waverling and Greg Bobian as well of the rest of the team, kept the Chargers at bay. The Panthers’ scoring came from the efforts of Whitehead with 23, Wiggins (11), Rodriquez (6), Bobian (7), Harriman (6) and Waverling (4).
Over the past three weeks, the Panthers have gelled as a team. As they enter into the last weekend of the season, it is likely they will travel for the first round of district competition.
Lady Panthers struggle with loss
WALSENBURG- The Lady Panthers lost a close game to the Crowley County Chargers last Thursday before a near capacity crowd, 48-44. The Cats controlled the game for three solid quarters before their offense shut down in the fourth quarter.
The game opened as the Panthers scored 6 unanswered points, including a 3-point baseline jumper by Shari Duran, her first of 5 such shots. Crowley came charging back with 5 points of their own. It looked as if the game would be a see-saw battle as both teams traded leads.
The Cats’ man-to-man defense put Desi Aguirre in foul trouble early in the first quarter with three personal fouls. It put her on the bench and Charger Sesally Kahn on the line. Her first charity throw was good, but on the ensuing attempt, Panther senior Cassandra Vigil rebounded and fell hard to the floor. Play was halted for twenty minutes while paramedics were called in to attend to a possible neck injury. She was transported to Spanish Peaks Hospital with a concussion. According to Superintendent Mike Doyle, “She was talkative and moving which was a good sign.” The Chargers scored again on the last play of the quarter to extend their lead 16-10.
The Lady Panthers took inspiration and came fighting back, exploding with 21 second-quarter points. Lindsey Bustos tied it up for the Panthers with two from the line at the 3:31 minute mark. The Cats took the lead 23-20 as they took control of the quarter and the game. Walsenburg continued to build their lead, due in part to the forceful offense of David and the hot hand of Duran from the outside. By half, the Cats led 31-25.
The third quarter opened with the Chargers scoring the first 4 points to bring themselves back into the game. Both teams slowed down the pace in the third, as each struggled to open their offense. Amanda Vargas hit a 3-pointer to close the Panther’s scoring in the third. However, Crowley responded with two straight buckets to cut the Panther lead to three, 40-37.
The fourth belonged to the Lady Chargers. The Panthers went cold. Meanwhile, Crowley exploded with 11 points to close out the game, handing the Lady Panthers their tenth loss of the season. Leading the way for the Panthers were Duran with 18, David (12), Aguirre (5), Vargas (3) and Bustos (2).
Presently, the Panthers are in fifth place in the league. If they defeat Cotopaxi tomorrow, there is a possibility they will host the first district game on Tuesday. Check our website for the district schedule.
The JV team lost in overtime 48 – 44 after the Chargers tied it up at 38 with 5 seconds remaining in regulation. Their surge was too much for the junior ladies to overcome.
Lady Skins sweep weekend action
HOEHNE / SANFORD- The Lady Redskins improved their record to 15-2 last weekend with a pair of wins over Hoehne and league foe Sanford. The Skins’ first victory came against the Hoehne Farmers last Thursday. La Veta opened slowly as the Farmers took a 10-9 first-quarter lead, but when the Redskins settled down, the Farmers could not stop them. The Skins’ defense held Hoehne in the second half. The good team effort led to an easy victory 48-35. High scorers for La Veta were Shelby Morgan with 20 and Emily Moll with 10. Morgan was tough on the boards, pulling in 12 rebounds while teammate Shea Brgoch and Sami Willhoite pulled in 5 and 4.
The following night, La Veta met the Sanford Indians and defeated them in a physical battle 42-35. The Skins trailed for the entire first half and went into the locker room 23-18 at half. The Skins’ full-court pressure in the second half "allowed us to get back into the game and pull ahead to control the tempo of the game and the final outcome, " according to Coach Kent Smith. The victory gives the Skins sole possession of first place in the league.
Moll was the Skins’ high scorer with 12, Brgoch and Christina Koutnik each hit 9, Willhoite and Morgan scored 6. Morgan once again was tough under the board, pulling down 11.
The Redskins will host a pair of games Friday and Saturday against Antonito and Sangre de Cristo. Sangre upset the Skins earlier this season and La Veta is looking for revenge.
The victory gives the Lady Skins a 9-1 league record. Depending on the outcome of this weekend′s game, the Skins may receive a bye in the first round of the district tournament. La Veta holds a one-game advantage over Sanford who is 8-2 in league action. If the Skins win one of their two remaining games, they will earn the bye. Visit our website at www.huerfanojournal.com next Wednesday to see who their opponent will be.
The junior varsity won against Hoehne by a score of 26-19, but lost against Sanford, 28-6. With the loss, the JV record fell to 10-4.