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  • Writer's picturetgardner1167

Lady Panthers Capture Class D Title

Jamestown, NY – In the Class D Final Saturday afternoon the Panama Panthers defeated Sherman 38-33 behind a 15 point effort from Mandy Brink.

The Wildcats seemed to have control of this game as they led for a majority of the contest. The game plan for Sherman heading into today’s final was to stop Brink, and through the first half, they did a very good job defending the 2 nd leading scorer in Section VI. In doing so though, it allowed for Kylie Morgan and Kaitlyn Horton to step up for the Panthers.

“The basketball gods don’t always shine on you, but today they did for us,” Lady Panthers head coach David Hinsdale said. “We talk a lot about playing with heart in the locker room, you saw that come out in the way we played.”

Panama trailed 14-5 after the first quarter. While they struggled making shots early and turning the ball over, Sherman feasted on the mistakes. Hayden Fisher scored 7 points in the first and would finish with 13 total. “I’m proud of the way we played, this definitely hurts though,” Fisher said. In the fall the senior to attend Baldwin Wallace to pursue a degree in sports management.

“It’s a long game, 32 minutes,” Hinsdale said. “We always say, take it one possession at a time. Play until it’s over and we did that today.”

The momentum started to swing in Panama’s favor in the 3 rd quarter. Bounces and loose balls were starting to go the Panthers way, and Brink started to hit her shots. Morgan’s 3-pointer gave Panama a 31-27 lead. Shermans Paige Gratto wasn’t ready to let the Panthers run away. The senior had back-to-back buckets that kept the Wildcats in it.

“We knew Sherman would be a tough,” Brink said after the game. “Our defense and rebounding were our specialties. It was a slow start but we continued to get better during the game.”

Sherman came into this game as the underdog. The talk around town was that they couldn’t play with Panama. “We proved to the community today that we could play with them,” Wildcats head coach Emily Eckwahl said. “I am so proud of how these girls played, they left it all out there. We were so close, this one hurts.”

Panama advances to the far west regional round and will next face an opponent from Section V next Saturday at Buffalo State College.

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