By Vern Hee
The deep Panthers bench proved to be too much for the Lady Hornets basketball team on Friday night in the semi-finals of the Division IV playoffs.
The Hornets lost a heartbreaker to Pahranagat Valley, 39-31.
The Hornets were ahead in the game for three quarters, said Aimee Senior, head Beatty coach. At the end of the first quarter, it was 8-8. At the end of the second, the score was Beatty 21, Panthers 19 and in the third quarter, Beatty was ahead 29-25.
“Yes, it was a tough loss to Alamo, but they had to work hard to beat us. We played them hard the first three and a half quarters. We just ran out of steam. We pressed them the first quarter and pulled it off because they kept beating us back. Lucky for us they were having a hard time getting the ball in the basket when they beat our press. Then they came out beginning the second half pressing us, which we didn’t have a tough time getting through, but it made us work more and took more energy out of us. Eventually they just had more bench and more umph than we did in the end,” said Senior.
Melynda Gross, Beatty team captain, said she believed her team played the best game they could have played.
“We were up all three quarters. At the fourth, we were up and our coach told us to keep it up. She told us to keep scoring,” said Gross.
Leo Verzilli, head boys basketball coach, agreed with Senior and thought it was the depth of the team which beat the girls.
“Our girls had some missed shots. They had some girls that can shoot three-pointers and that is something we do not have. Our girls missed a lot of put-backs. They ran our girls up and down the court,” said Verzilli.
In the end, Beatty just could not sustain the effort. Gross knows her team ran out of gas. Her team has five core players and just four players on the bench.
“I think we got tired. Alamo shot two three-pointers in three minutes in the fourth quarter. They were up by one and we were not moving. Our starters were in the whole game and then Shankara fouled out in the fourth quarter,” said Gross. The team captain thought her team did their best until the end.
“We worked on our guard shooting from the outside. Lucero was making good moves and was doing well. I was doing well on the second chance shots. I felt I was late on the steals and I did not do as well defensively. The Panthers are good at keeping the ball. The first half we did a zone full court press and we did not play man at all. We really popped out and kept the three-point shooting to a minimum, but we ran out of gas in the end,” said Gross. It will take some time said the team captain for the team to get over the loss.
“We should have had it. We should have won the game … I felt we should have done better. We felt we should have pushed harder,” lamented Gross.
“The girls were broken-hearted. The girls played so hard right up to the end,” said Verzilli.
Senior said the season was nothing short of solid and concluded with an upbeat statement about her team.
“Overall, it was a good season. We played some good preseason games to get us ready for the league games. I saw some good improvement from the girls this season. Melynda was a strong force on the team with great rebounding and consistent scoring. Shankara peaked at the right time of the year to add some end of the year scoring, as well as staying a good all-around player that I could count on. Ginny played tough defense all year, which aided our strong defense and helped us end the year strong. Lucero continued to improve her game under the basket all year and she will be ready to lead the team into next year. Christina, as always, worked hard and was an asset both defensively and offensively all year. Nicole, Ester, and Maggie came off the bench when they were needed and gave all they had to round out a good team.”