By TAYLOR GRAFFT
The Varsity Lady Panthers basketball team fell to Rouse on Monday night in their second home game of the season.
After defeating Lehman 73-41 on Saturday afternoon in their season opener, the Lady Panthers couldn’t find their shot in the game against Rouse.
Coach Matt Kirschner was disappointed in the loss, but realized it is still early in the season.
“I’m disappointed in the fact that the physicality got to us,” said Kirschner. “That took us out of our offensive game. It also seemed to take us out of the press because we were turning the ball over so much. We never really got into a rhythm until late in the game.
“I did see some positives in the game as well,” he said. “We got them to turn the ball over out of the press. We didn’t shoot the ball real well, but we rebounded real well.”
In the first quarter, Rouse took a 9-2 lead from after getting to the foul line three times in the opening five minutes.
Baylie Bevers hit a shot in the low post to cut the lead to five with 1:25 remaining. Rouse then hit a three-pointer to take an eight-point lead.
Blair Lord had been a presence in the low block all night and was aggressive in the rebounding department, finishing with six offensive boards. Lord hit a jump shot from the foul line with 0:45 seconds remaining to cut the lead to six.
“Lord is a two-year varsity player, and a two-year captain,” Kirschner said. “She understands what I want and what it takes to be a true leader. Not just vocally, but her work ethic. She crashed the boards hard (against Rouse).”
Shelby Whitten then hit a three-pointer from the right corner with 0:25 seconds remaining and another one a few seconds later from the same spot to tie the game at 12-all to end the first quarter.
Rouse scored six straight points to start the second quarter with an 18-12 lead. Lord was fouled underneath the basket with 6:19 remaining and hit both of her free throws to cut the lead to 18-14. Bevers hit a shot in the low post to cut it to two points, and then Kaylie Potts tied the game at 18-all on the next possession.
Liberty Hill took their first lead of the game when Whitten hit a dribble pull-up with 3:30 remaining to make it 20-18. Rouse then went on a 7-0 run to take the lead back. Both teams got to the free throw line as time winded down in the second quarter. Rouse took a 27-21 lead into halftime.
Rouse started the third quarter on a 4-0 run after two easy layups as a result of two turnovers by the Panthers.
Whitten got to the line after being fouled on a drive and hit one of her free throws to make it 33-22. Rouse started to pull away and took a 13-point lead with just under two minutes remaining. The Lady Panthers found themselves down 43-28 to start the fourth quarter.
The Lady Panthers got off to a slow start to begin the fourth quarter. Rouse went on a 13-3 run after a three-pointer with three minutes remaining in the game.
Jill Green and Allee Nix, who had missed 26 practices due to the Lady Panthers’ Varsity Volleyball team being in the playoffs, got to see some late action in the final five minutes of the game.
“I got Jill and Allee in late in the game just to kind of see what they remember,” Kirschner said. “They’re 26 practices behind so the learning curve has to be quick.”
Green was fouled and got to the line with 2:51 remaining. She finished with one point, while Nix finished with two points.
The Lady Panthers ended the game with a nice 9-0 run in the last two minutes, which is a sign that the talent and effort are there, but it is still early in the season.