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Panthers win MVL girls basketball title
The pressure nearly got to Maxwell High during the second half of their 34-32 victory against Colusa, but the Panthers hit shots when it mattered most and put themselves in position to win the Mid-Valley League title.
"I think we were nervous, we really needed that game because if we didn't win this game or our next game then we're not league champions," Maxwell forward Jessie Otterson said.
Needing one more win after the victory Tuesday in Colusa, the Panthers (15-5, 9-1) secured sole possession of the league title with a 41-34 win against Biggs on Thursday in Maxwell.
Colusa's playoff chances took a hit with the loss, but the top 12 teams in Division IV make the playoffs and the RedHawks (13-11, 5-4) entered the week in a tie with Winters for the 11th spot. They finished the season with a game Friday night in Portola.
The Panthers struggled to score in the first half, but slowed the RedHawks' attack with their zone defense and entered halftime with a 12-6 lead. Colusa shot just 2 for 20 in the first half while Maxwell stayed ahead with 3-pointers by Jessie Otterson and Ashley Azevedo in the second quarter.
Inside the locker room at halftime, the Colusa seniors rallied. It was Senior Night after all, and they weren't about to roll over. They just finished a half in which they scored one point in the first quarter and six for the entire half.
There were positives, they held Maxwell to 12 points, but the seven seniors on the team weren't happy, according to Colusa coach Jerry Davies.
"We were frustrated, we only scored six points, so they were agitated and wanted to do better. The seniors stepped up and said let's go."
Teale Stacey and Yasmin Moreno sparked an 8-3 Colusa run in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the half, tying the game before the Panthers regrouped. The lead changed five times in the third quarter and Maxwell entered the fourth ahead 22-21 after Brittney Haywood scored her first points of the game at the buzzer.
Kaily McKinley pushed the Panthers' lead to 26-21, but Paige Townzen sank a 3-pointer and Stacey put in two more points, tying the game.
Shelen Boyes and Townzen traded 3-pointers before Maxwell pulled back ahead with a lay-up by Boyes on a long feed from Azevedo, and Otterson hit her second 3-pointer of the game for a five-point Panther lead with a minute left.
Colusa came down the court and Stacey hit her second 3-pointer of the game with 39 seconds remaining to make the score 34-32. The RedHawks fouled Azevedo with 17 seconds left and she missed the first half of a one-and-one, setting up one final possession.
Moreno and Emily Mobley tried to get off shots as time ran down, but Maxwell defended well, getting hands on the ball each time Colusa had a look at the basket.
"(Maxwell) made a couple good shots right at the end, a couple threes that put us in a corner, and put us in a tough spot to make a last shot," Davies said.
McKinley led Maxwell with 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Otterson added eight points and five assists. Azevedo scored five points and had five assists, and Boyes added five points and four steals. Jenna Powell pitched in with four points and 14 rebounds.
Stacey scored a game-high 12 points for Colusa, and added six rebounds and three steals. Townzen scored nine points and had four assists, and Moreno added five points and six rebounds. Mobley scored three points and commanded a team-high 12 rebounds.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.