LINCOLN – By the time the Fillmore Central Panthers figured out how to attack the Wahoo Warriors’ defense it was too late.
Fillmore Central’s season came to an end Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Class C-1 State Tournament at Pershing Auditorium, as they struggled to hit their shots in a 45-31 loss to the Warriors.
Wahoo, who came in as the No. 10 team in Class C-1 used a 12-3 run over the first 4:23 of the third quarter to open an 18-14 halftime lead to 30-17.
Fillmore Central, the No. 3 team was their worst own enemy as they turned the ball over six times in that time frame and they would never get the lead under double digits for the remainder of the afternoon.
The Panthers struggled mightily from the field as they finished the game 9-47 from the field and 4-21 from beyond the 3-point circle. Fillmore Central head coach Mark Madison said the girls were getting open looks, nothing was falling in the basket.
“We were getting real good looks, but we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket. If you can’t do that you can’t win,” said Madison.
“They were playing gaps and playing soft, so we got a lot of good looks, it just took us the first 22-24 minutes to figure how to attack them and by then it was just too late.”
Wahoo jumped out to a 6-0 lead as Fillmore Central missed their first 14 shots from the field.
Once the Panthers hit their first basket they closed on an 8-2 run to lead 8-7 at the break.
In the first quarter, Fillmore Central was 3-17 from the field, with a pair of 3-point goals from Audrey Malone to spark the scoring run.
Malone led all players with 18 points, but next in line was Emilie Krienert with six and Rachel Hoarty was held to just four points as she came in with a 13.3 per game average.
Despite all the missed shots, the Panthers recorded 18 offensive rebounds in the game, 14 in the first half alone, but cashed in for only four points on second chances.
“We were not able to press and they did a good job of controlling the tempo of the game,” said Madison. “Once we were able to press, we started to score more, but we had dug too deep a hole to crawl out of. We were getting a lot of open looks, but at times we were just not patient in our shot selection. I think we kind of started to press a little more than we needed to.”
Wahoo was led in scoring by Tschida Johnson with 16. Tossing in 10 was the Warriors’ leading scorer Samantha Grandgenette and adding eight was sophomore Gabrielle Shannon.
The Warriors were 16-33 from the field, hit just 1-5 from the 3-point circle and hit 12-16 at the charity stripe. Fillmore Central was 9-14 from the charity stripe.
The Panthers end the season 24-3 and Madison said the girls were a great bunch to work with. “These girls are unbelievable achievers,” Madison stated. “I can’t fault any games in term of effort. They had a great season and should be proud of what they accomplished.”
Fillmore Central loses three seniors to graduation as Macy Jones, Maloley and Christa Scott all played their final game for the Panthers.
Wahoo (17-9)................7 11 17 10 – 45
Fillmore Central (24-3) .......8 6 8 9 – 31
WHS (45) – T. Johnson 5 6-8 16, S. Grandgenette 4 2-4 10, G. Shannon 4 0-0 8, D. Barry 2 (1) 2-2 7, C. Hohl 0 2-2 2, K. Knuth 1 0-0 2. Totals- 16-33 (1) 12-16 45.
FC (31)- A. Malone 5 (4) 4-6 18, R. Hoarty 2 0-0 4, E. Krienert 2 2-4 6, B. Rasmussen 0 1-2 1, L. Maloley 0 2-2 2. Totals- 9-47 (4) 9-14 31.