Lady Panthers end season 4th in Division

Photos by Garrett Harr.  Lady Panther MacKinzie Verke had 12 points in Park City’s 47-40 win over Wibaux in the girl’s 6-C tournament in Laurel last weekend.

The Lady Panthers of Park City met up with the Lady Longhorns of Wibaux in their first match of the Divisional tournament Thursday night. The Panthers came out with determination right from tip-off. Shelby McMillen got the first 2 with a baseline jumper followed with 4 from Tehya Ray and 2 from Shelby Branstetter putting the Panthers up 8-0. The Panthers continued to apply pressure and run the floor. The first quarter ended with a 3 from Shelby Kluth to put the Panthers up 17-7. The Panthers lead by as much as 15 in the second quarter aided by 6 from Branstetter along with a 3 from MacKinzie Verke with only seconds left to end the half 30-18. The third quarter was a challenge for the Panthers as they struggled with turnovers and rebounding. The Lady Longhorns outscored the Panthers 10-6 in the third. The fourth proved to be better for the Panthers with Branstetter hitting another 6. Branstetter also lead with 11 rebounds. The Panthers were able to control the tempo; using up time especially in the last few minutes to go on to win 47-40.

Park City 17 13 6 11 – 47
Wibaux 7 11 10 12 – 40
S. Branstetter 16, M. Verke 12, B. Verke 5, T. Ray 4, S. Kluth 3, S. McMillen 3, B. Van Doren 2.

The next night the Panthers faced the Harlowton Lady Engineers. The Panthers split with the Engineers during regular season play. Both teams came out defending the ball well and it remained scoreless for the first 2 ½ minutes until the Panthers got the upper hand and went on a 13-2 run to end the first quarter. The Panthers continued to apply pressure and control time of possession, but the Engineers were able to answer in the second to pull within 8 at the end of the half. The Panthers came out with pressure again in the second half, but struggled scoring only shooting 16 percent from 2 point range and hitting 0 3’s. Harlowton on the other hand, hit 40 percent and made 3 3s; outscoring the Panthers 17-6 in the fourth. The Engineers went on to win 35-27. This put the Panthers in the Loser-Out game Saturday morning.

Park City 13 6 2 6 – 27
Harlowton 2 9 7 17 – 35
S. Branstetter 9, M. Verke 9, T. Ray 5, S. McMillen 2, B. Verke 2.

The next challenge for the Lady Panthers was facing the Lady Warriors of Plenty Coups at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. You could tell that both teams were coming off tough games the night before. The Warriors were first on the board and led by 4 after 1. However, Lady Panther MacKinzie Verke got the fire going for her team and proved to be too much for the Warriors to handle. Verke went on the score 28 points, had 8 steals and 8 rebounds. Shelby Kluth, who was still recovering from the flu, contributed 9 points and 5 steals, and Tehya Ray led in rebounding with 10. The Panthers went on to win 48-36 and advance to the consolation round against Melstone.

Park City 8 10 14 16 – 48
Plenty Coups 12 5 7 12 – 36
M. Verke 28, S. Kluth 9, S. Branstetter 7, B. Van Doren 2, T. Ray 2.

The Panthers knew that their chance to advance to the State Tourney rested in the next two games. They would need to defeat the Melstone Lady Broncs and Harlowton would have to defeat Broadview/Lavina.
The Lady Broncs got on the board first with 7 unanswered points to put the Lady Panthers in catch-up mode. The Panthers continued to chip away ending the quarter with a 3 from MacKinzie Verke to get them within 3 as the buzzer sounded. The second quarter was much the same as the Panthers were down by as many as 9 but came back within 5 with a 3 from Shelby McMillen before the half ended 22-27. The Lady Broncs continued to capitalize on second-chance shots in the second half that allowed them to go on to win 57-39.

Park City 11 11 6 11 - 39
Melstone 14 13 16 14 – 57
S. Branstetter 13, M. Verke 11, S. McMillen 7, B. Van Doren 3, T. Ray 3, S. Kluth 2.

The Lady Panthers ended their season placing 4th in their division, 3rd in their district tournament, and 2nd in their conference. Good job Panthers and good luck next season.

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