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Panthers full-court press defeats Thunderhawks in girls basketball season opener

The Lady Thunderhawks travelled to Timber Lake on Tuesday Dec. 6 to open their 2022-2023 season with a game against the Panthers.  Since the Panthers are always a tough and competitive team, there was no doubt that they would be a good litmus test for coach Clint LeCompte to see how his team would perform.  It would also tell him what his team still needed to work on to become what he wants them to be this year.

After Leilani Bowker matched baskets with the Panthers on the first two shots, Timber Lake found their stride and took off on a 12-0 run.  It took Adrianna Johnson hitting a 3-point shot to put a stop to the Panthers run.  Unfortunately, Timber Lake sank one more basket before time expired to end the first quarter with a commanding lead of 18-7.

Things looked good at the start of the second quarter when Johnson and Kaylynn Holy Bear hit back-to-back 3-point shots.  The Panthers recovered and kept up their full court pressure to go on another run.  This time it was Holy Bear who stopped the run by splashing in her second 3-pointer of the game.  Once again, Timber Lake adjusted their defense and shut down the Thunderhawks.  It wasn’t until the very end of the second quarter that Bowker forced up an underneath basket to close out the first half 38-17.

Bowker can make baskets and is definitely the linchpin for the Thunderhawks offense.  The trouble is, Timber Lake also knows that and they totally collapsed down on her when the third quarter commenced.  At times she would have three defenders on her.  Needless to say, she was held to only five points in the quarter, and when it ended the Panthers increased their lead 55-25.

When the final frame started Holy Bear snapped the twine again for three points.  But the Panthers maintained their full court pressure and kept two to three players on Bowker in the half court as much as they could.  Bowker did her best and managed add another five points.  But with Timber Lake never letting up they won the game, going away 71-35.

Again, Leilani Bowker is the key inside and Kaylynn Holy Bear is the threat outside.  Adrianna Johnson, Pamela Meeter, and Ashlynn Charger provide excellent support as well.  And as the season progresses, there is no doubt that they will gel and contribute more—a lot more—but the quarterback is sophomore K’Launa Buffalo. Even though she did not score any points in this contest, she is the one who triggers the offense and is a dynamo on defense.

Stats: Girls Thunderhawks: Kaylynn Holy Bear – 8, Adrianna Johnson – 5, Pamela Meeter – 5, Leilani Bowker – 17.  Panthers:  Carlie Lawrence – 13, Shay Kraft – 21, Kendyl Locken – 4, Jasmine Nash – 8, McKenzi Vomacka – 2, Cindy Hoyt -2, Kessa Bigger – 10, Natalie Lawrence – 5, Abby Linderman – 2, Jordan Jones – 4.

TTS 7 10 8 10 +35

TL 18 20 17 16 +71

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