By Jeremy McDonald
INDEPENDENCE, Ore.– Central had a chance to cut Crescent Valley’s lead to one entering the halftime break, but couldn’t land the in-the-paint shot before the halftime buzzer in a Mid-Willamette Conference match-up that featured the fifth and sixth-best teams in 5A.
But the Panthers did answer strongly to start the third quarter Mariah Hyre and two Elizabeth Chavez shots turned a 20-17 deficit into a 23-20 lead two-and-a-half minutes into the half.
Momentum looked to be swinging in favor of Central with their 6-0 run, however the press of the Raiders created a problem for the Panthers as Central was forced out of their game.
Turnovers were created and a bad shot selection was presented to the Panthers as Crescent Valley used a 14-0 run to take a 34-23 lead with 4:07 left in the game.
“I think once we got up, we just got to keep the pedal on it and when we had (the lead) we had lapses,” described Kennedy Kantola. “We didn’t focus on each possession that we had and that’s how we lost it. We lost our focus in the mental game.”
Kantola touched base on that their physical game is there, it’s just their mental game is something they could work on moving forward with how young the league season is for the Panthers.
Call it rust from the Arizona trip and not playing a game in ten days compare to their Crescent Valley counterparts that squeaked in a game on January 2 versus Springfield before Friday’s game as Chavez got Central back on the board with three-pointer with about a minute left in the game to break the run the Raiders were on.
But at 1-2 in MWC and riding a three-game skid dating back to their last win against Casteel of Arizona on December 20, they know it’s going to have to change with their mental game to help match with their physical game when they travel to North Salem Tuesday.
“It felt good, it felt like we were going to continue it and we didn’t so and that was really frustrating. But it did felt good in the beginning,” said Annika Riddell. “We weren’t into it mentally so if we had a little more intensity to it, we would have done a little bit better.
“I think we are all tired of losing these league games and tired of losing games that we should be winning. So I’m hoping that it will motivate us in the future to play better and just mentally be in it.”
Tip-off against the Vikings is at 7pm
Photos By Jeremy McDonald