The Portland girls picked up a much needed win last Friday with a 49-34 decision over host Gallatin. It was also the opening district contest for the Purple.
“We needed this win; it was a breath of fresh air,” Coach Miranda Cravens noted. “We’ve been struggling and were hungry to win.”
The Lady Panthers led from the opening tip but could never put the Wave away until the third quarter when junior Rachel Jennings connected on a trio of 3-point shots that stretched a four-point lead to 11.
The Purple were never threatened after that.
“Those shots were big, “Cravens pointed out. “It gave us some breathing room and a burst of energy. After that, we played well.”
Freshman Sami Parker netted eight points including claiming several defensive boards for the night.
“Tonight was Sami’s best game,” Cravens remarked. “All she needs is experience. We were worried about Gallatin’s size and we worked on rebounding drills all week. We rebounded well in the first half.”
Both teams struggled in the opening first quarter with five baskets scored. Mackenzie Trouten connected inside for the games first bucket with a minute gone. It was nearly two minutes before another point was scored with that coming on a Jennings basket.
Trouten and Mac Craddock made back-to-back hoops to put the Purple eon top 8-0 with 1:54. The Wave got on the scoreboard on pair of foul shots but Jennings dropped in two from the charity stripe to put the Lady Panthers on top 10-2.
Parker and Demaria Bell pushed in baskets for a 14-4 edge.
However, the Lady Wave came back with seven straight points to close the gap by three, 14-11 with 3:31 left before the half.
Portland held off the hosts as Trouten made a foul shot, Parker scored inside and Craddock drilled a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 20-11. Trouten finished out the half with a basket and a 22-13 halftime edge.
Bell opened the second half on a basket from a Jennings pass as the Purple went up 24-13. Gallatin answered again by scoring seven unanswered points to trim the deficit to four, 24-20. Jennings put some distance between the two teams with three, 3-point shots, Haley Dickens nailed two free throws and Jennings wrapped up the third period scoring on a layup and a 37-22 advantage.
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The Lady Wave never got any closer than ten in the final eight minutes of action. The hosts cut a 13-point difference to ten but Parker scored inside and Bell and Craddock each sank a pair of foul shots to put the game away.
Jennings led all scorers with 15 point with Trouten netting nine with Parker and Bell each scoring eight. Craddock had seven and Dickens chipped in with two.
Jo’neca Ripley scored 11 for the Wave.
Last Tuesday, the Lady Panthers squared off against county rival White House and lost 49-43. Portland led 16-12 after one quarter and took a 28024 advantage into the lockerroom at halftime. The third period ended with the Purple on top 36-35.
But the Lady Devils pulled away over the final eight minutes to post the victory.
“Offensively, we were not very good against White House,” Cravens explained. “We had 27 turnovers and they didn’t even press us. We made bad passes and took bad shots. Defensively, they beat us off the dribble and in transition. It was a close game and we led through the majority of the first three quarters. “
Craddock topped the Lady Panthers with 16 points including eight in the first period. Jennings netted ten, Bell had nine, Parker scored six and Dickens finished with two.
White House was led by Bailee Miller with ten and Mackenzie Vaughn had nine.