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Morning Sun
  • Panthers end Galena’s season with win

  • The St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers advanced to the substate championship with a 52-47 victory over a familiar foe, the Galena Bulldogs.

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  • The St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers advanced to the substate championship with a 52-47 victory over a familiar foe, the Galena Bulldogs.
    Dyson Dechant scored 19 points to help his team advance in a game that went up and down, but saw a strong second and fourth quarter give the Panthers an edge.
    “I was really pleased,” said Colgan head coach Wayne Cichon. “It shows a lot of character on our kids’ part when you have to play the same team three times in a season. There were a lot of good efforts by our kids.”
    Galena rushed out of the gate with a 16-8 lead at the end of the first quarter.
    The second quarter went to the Panthers. They came firing right back to take a 23-17 lead before a 3-pointer by Galena shortened the lead to one.
    Dechant was later sent to the line, where he made both free throws to give the Panthers a 34-29 lead at the half.
    “I think we wanted to play a full-court game because we knew our bench was bigger,”
    Cichon said. “I think that benefit showed up in the second and fourth quarters. I think we had the advantage because of our bench.”
    The Bulldogs outscored the Panthers in the third and went ahead by two with 2:18. Logan Johnson was sent to the line for two and made both to give Galena a 40-36 edge.
    But the Panthers fought back in the fourth and took the lead with a pair of free throws by Dechant to go up 43-42. He scored an and-one to make it a four-point advantage with 5:21 left.
    “It’s a great feeling to come out with a win on our home court,” Dyson Dechant said. “It’s tough to beat a team three times, but we’re excited to go win this thing tomorrow night.”
    Austin Commons scored an outside shot and the Panthers were ahead by eight with 2:05 left. A blocked shot turned into a fast break lay-up for the Panthers, and they were not to be denied the rest of the way.
    Next for the Panthers (16-5) will be another familiar foe, the Riverton Rams, owners of a 17-5 record. The Rams won the last game last week with the Panthers but Cichon is bullish going into the game.
    “Riverton gave us a lesson at their place 11 days ago, so we’ve got some things that we need to work on,” Cichon said. “We hope our kids enjoy this and come back to practice in the morning to get back to work.”
    Dechant is also upbeat going in.
    “We lost to them last time, but I think we can beat them,” Dechant said. “I think we have to have the knowledge and we’ve got to have the energy and the passion tomorrow.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Bullpup girls 51, Panthers 42
    The Caney Valley Bullpups may have looked a bit of a mismatch going into their substate semifinal against St. Mary’s Colgan. The Bullpups entered the contest with only one loss on their repertoire this entire season. But what their record won’t show was how close they came to being knocked out early as the Panthers came within five minutes of completing the upset after exploding in the third and fourth quarters to take a four-point lead before the Bullpups came back to survive, 51-42.
    “I thought we played pretty hard, I thought our kids gave it their best shot,” said head coach Abby Farabi. “I just wish it would’ve turned out different.”
    The Bullpups showed why they were strong by taking a 14-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. But the Panthers did not go away and were given a boost with Alex Minton scoring a 3-pointer.
    Bethany Barlow came out strong in the second quarter, hitting an outside shot and Desiree Nelson complimented with a 3-pointer of her own to help the Bullpups a 21-10 lead.
    Makenzie Vining hit two free throws to give Caney Valley a 24-15 halftime score.
    Vining was a scoring machine, finishing with 22 points while Nelson had 14.
    Mariah Klenke hit a 3-pointer to close the gap at six, early in the third. Abigail Wade scored her first field goal of the night from beyond the arc and the Bullpups went ahead by ten.
    Taylor Bolinger’s 3-pointer came with 2:00 left in the third and she wasn’t finished as she suddenly scored another to go on a 6-0 run and close the gap to four, bringing the Panther home crowd roaring to their feet.
    “We hit back-to-back threes,” Farabi said. “Our shots started to fall, finally. We’ve missed so many easy shots and easy looks and that’s the difference in games. If you make your lay-ups, you win. I can’t say enough about these girls though, they’ve worked so hard for me, and I felt like they had a really great season.”
    The Panthers continued to rain down the threes in the third quarter as Alex Minton, who finished the night with 10 points, scored an outside shot to close the deficit to one, going into the fourth.
    A Nichole Kolarik field goal put the Panthers in front for the first time, and she followed it shortly later with another basket to make it 38-34 with 5:44 left. At that point, the Bullpups had not scored since 2:00 in the third quarter
    Vining went to the line and shot two free throws to take a one-point advantage. There were three lead changes in the span of two minutes before the Bullpups went ahead for good.
    Page 3 of 3 - A 3-pointer by Nelson was soon changed to a two-pointer to make it 45-40 with 2:01 remaining. Nelson went on to hit two free throws to help close out the game as the Bullpups survived an upset bid.
    The loss ends the Panthers’ season at 10-11 overall while the Bullpups advanced to the substate championship tonight with a 19-1 record.
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