BASKETBALL: Panthers’ free throws prevent Marauders comeback

The Porterville Panthers scored 13 points in the fourth quarter in free throws alone to beat the Monache Marauders 47-43.

PORTERVILLE – The Porterville Panthers upset the top-ranked Monache Marauders in the final league game of the season. Despite the loss, the Marauders are still East Yosemite League champions.

The Marauders lost their undefeated streak to their cross-town rivals, the Panthers, in their game on Friday, Feb. 10. The Marauders were losing 34-25 when they started to make a comeback in the fourth quarter. But they suffered many penalties, and the Panthers scored 13 points on free throws alone to keep their lead and serve the Marauders their first league loss of the season with a score of 47-43.

“It’s just cross town rivals,” Porterville head coach David Kavern said. “And they’re the league champions. They were wearing shirts that say league champions [during warmups] and they deserve it. It just motivated my kids to play a little bit harder.”

Freshman Ryleigh Schoonover and senior Andrea Perez made four and five free throws respectively in the fourth quarter. As the Marauders tried to prevent the Panthers from scoring, they had more and more penalties called on them, which ended up costing them the game.

The Marauders closed the gap significantly in the fourth quarter. They scored 18 points to close in on the Panthers’ lead and lost by only four points in the end. But the penalties set them back considerably and the Panthers were crisp in their shooting. Out of the 12 free throws awarded, they only missed seven. But it was their play early in the game that allowed them to be in a winning position in the end.

“I think our defense and us challenging shots and rebounding the ball [was key],” Kavern said. “We did a very good job and we didn’t turn it over as much as we have in the past.”

The Panthers were up 21-11 at halftime and holding the Marauders to only 11 points in a half was quite a feat for the team nobody expected to win. The Marauders came in undefeated in league play and had beaten the Panthers 60-21 the first time they met this season. Instead, the EYL champions went home with their first loss in league play.

“We needed a game like that,” Monache head coach Jonathon Bartlett said. “We’ve had a couple losses but we haven’t really been tested and they played us well tonight.”

Since the Marauders were undefeated before this game and every other team in the EYL had at least two losses, they had already clinched the championship before the rivalry game at Porterville. With playoffs beginning next week, a tough loss could be the exact preparation the Marauders need. For Porterville, a rivalry win just before playoffs will give them a huge confidence boost. Brackets will be released for playoffs on Feb. 11.

Across town at Monache High School, the Porterville boys team, who clinched the EYL championship on Feb. 8, beat the Monache boys team. They finished halfway through the girls’ game and all the students, including the boys team, came racing back to Porterville High School to cheer on the girls as they took down the Marauders. By the fourth quarter, the girls had a full cheering section and after the game, everyone celebrated the boys’ championship win by cutting down the net.

Start typing and press Enter to search