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The phrase “We’ve saved the best for last” never held more true than inside the Panther gym Tuesday night. After losing to Pleasant Grove 11 days prior, North Lamar looked hopeless for a playoff spot in District 13-3A. However, that all changed after the Pantherettes won three in a row, culminating with a dominating performance at home on Tuesday for Senior night. North Lamar defeated the Lady Rabbits 71-36 to clinch a playoff berth.
North Lamar looked like a team on a mission as they jumped out to an early first quarter lead over Atlanta. Senior Hannah Igleheart opened the game with a three-point basket for North Lamar. It was one of five the Pantherettes hit in the first half. It was a half in which North Lamar outscored Atlanta 48-13.
“We treat every game the same,” coach Arledge said after the win. “It gives us time to practice a little more and prepare for the next game,” he added after the Pantherettes clinched a playoff berth.
There seemed to be a different feeling surrounding the team from warmups all they way through the final whistle. The Seniors set the tone with having fun out there and all of them got involved in a big way. Igleheart finished with 12 points, Lexie Chancellor had 14 and Cozy Brown chipped in eight.
Each of the seniors made a three point basket and Cozy hit two during the second period to help fuel a 24-3 second quarter for North Lamar.
“I think senior night took their mind off this game a little more than usual,” Arledge said.
Even though the entire team contributed, everyone knew this night belonged to the seniors. This was the last time they will play a basketball game on their home court and they wanted to make it special and that’s exactly what they did.
The second half saw Atlanta and North Lamar both score 23 points but it didn’t matter at that point. The Pantherettes used precise ball movement, unbelievable shooting, and a tenacious defensive approach to pounce on the Lady Rabbits early. North Lamar forced 25 Atlanta turnovers, with 14 of them being steals. Kylie Halstead led the way with five steals.
North Lamar also shot 54.9% from the floor including 50% from three-point range. Coach Arledge has talked about all year how his team is a good shooting team and against Atlanta they proved it.
With the win, North Lamar secured the No. 4 seed in the district and will play Quinlan Ford next Tuesday in Sulphur Springs at 7:00.
North Lamar Points:
Lexie Chancellor – 14; Baile Jones – 12; Hannah Igleheart – 12; Kylie Halstead – 11; Cozy Brown – 8; Lexie Stephens – 6; Maddison Morrison – 4; Aaryn Honeywood – 2; Bailey Exum – 2.
North Lamar Rebounds:
Lexie Chancellor – 7; Kylie Halstead – 6; Bailey Jones – 4; Hannah Igleheart – 3; Lexie Stephens – 3; Bailey Exum – 2; Aaryn Honeywood – 2; Maddison Morrison – 1
North Lamar Steals:
Kylie Halstead – 5; Lexie Stephens – 3; Maddison Morrison – 2; Cozy Brown – 1; Bailey Exum – 1; Hannah Igleheart – 1; Lexie Chancellor – 1
By: Greg Higgins, eParisExtra