Panthers Outclaw Dragons For Rivalry Win

By Jeremy McDonald

DALLAS, Ore.– The rivarly game between Dallas and Central was probably closer than it was expected as the Lady Dragon’s Emma Classen drained a trey at the buzzer of the first quarter to hand Dallas a 11-8 lead on the number two Lady Panthers.
Central Head Coach Julie McDonald admitted that this game was similar to their 54-50 win over Corvallis and their lone defeat of the season to number 5 in 4A Stayton in that it was not pretty and the Dragons were building confidence.
The Panthers stepped up on both sides of the ball though in the second quarter behind Elizabeth Chavez, Megan Mendazona and company as they not just regained the lead as they did early on in the game up 5-2, but led 23-13 entering the halftime break.
Central’s lead reached 13 points at 27-14 before Dallas stepped up as they did in the first quarter and took advantage of the Panthers laying off the gas pedal.
Kaelynn Simmons (12) and Makayli Laizure (2) walking pass each other moments after high-fiving as Simmons walks to the free throw line late in the first half (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

The Lady Dragons kept it around 10 before Classen knocked it to nine as eventually Makayli Laziure and Jordan Dippel hit back-to-back three-pointers to get the game to within three entering the fourth down 32-29.
“It’s Central, we wanted to win,” smiled and laugh Dippel. “You want to win every rivalry game and we wanted to do whatever we could to get that. Shooting open three, getting rid of the ball, your driving and got a open lane for the shooter on the outside.
“Giving up your points so someone else can score, that’s what it took and that’s what we did and it paid off and that’s all we could ask for.”
Dippel had ten points to Laziure’s five and Classen’s 10 points in the game for Dallas.
Chavez’ end of the quarter shot that would’ve pushed the lead to five, but missed its mark at the buzzer as Central tried to find some rhythm entering the final eight minutes.
“I think we just lost focus,” said Chavez who had 12 points in the game. “Like we were up and we were letting them shoot more, we weren’t playing intense defense and we were kind of letting them do whatever they want and we were letting them blow pass us a lot.”
It took about two minutes of both team’s scrapping it out before one the team’s could find a rhythm, and depending on the side your on it was good or bad.
Katelyn Trevino going up for a lay-in during Wednesday’s game (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

For Central, the rhythm that they found resulted in a 8-0 run to put them up 40-29 to seal the momentum in their favor as late baskets by Jessica Furman and Classen for the Lady Dragons to get it within ten in the closing two minutes, but couldn’t sustain the run they had in the third quarter into the fourth quarter Wednesday night.
“Fourth quarter it’s a whole different mindset than the second quarter. You just have to have to know there’s eight minutes left in that game and if you don’t do all you can in those eight minutes, then there’s nothing else you can really do,” said Dippel as her Dallas (7-7, 1-4 Mid-Willamette Conference) squad host South Albany (5-10, 1-4) Friday. “All we had to do was hit the gas and we had to run hard, play hard, play good defense, play good offense, no errors and we did that.
“It starts in practice. So we hit practice hard tomorrow, we know what we have to do, we know what we have to get it done; and then when we get into the game on Friday, we just have to put it all together.”
The Panthers finished the game with an 11-5 advantage after starting the final eight minutes on a 8-0 advantage to build a nice comfortable lead and letting their defense do the rest, it came down to what their coach told them during the fourth quarter to get them settled in as they now prepare for a Mid-Willamette Conference showdown between themselves and league undefeated Silverton.
“Our coach was really calm and was really on us the whole time about keeping our lead, staying focused and knowing how we play basketball,” said Chavez as Central (14-1) too sits at 5-0 as the Lady Foxes (12-3) in league play. “Just keeping focused like we had the lead, but we needed to keep pushing and keep picking up points and keep them down so they won’t comeback.
“We just got to know we got to stay focused no matter what, if we had the lead or if we’re down. Staying focused is our main key.”

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Photos By Jeremy McDonald