CLEARMONT — There’s no need to dig into any complex tiebreaker scenarios in regard to the 1A Northeast Conference race.
The Arvada-Clearmont girls basketball team made sure of that Friday.
The Lady Panthers edged Kaycee 51-48 at home, sweeping the season series from the Lady Buckaroos.
The victory assured AC of its second consecutive conference crown … without the help of any tiebreakers — the Lady Panthers had already locked up the No. 1 seed and another championship another banner last weekend.
“It’s a big deal,” AC head coach Sarah Walker said. “I still get goosebumps thinking about it. “These girls have played together since they were fifth- and sixth- and seventh-graders, and they’ve never given up on each other. Even in years that we had five girls and they still showed up and worked to get the job done. They deserve the banner on the wall for those reasons.”
The Lady Panthers had to earn those championships the hard way and they had to earn the victory Friday in similar fashion. AC held a 41-32 advantage with under a minute to play in the third period and appeared as though it would pull away down the stretch. But the Lady Buckaroos scrapped back into it.
Kaycee trimmed its deficit to one at 47-46 on a bucket from Tinley Pierson with 1:30 to play in the game. Pierson tormented the Lady Panthers all game, pouring in a game-high 26 points.
Walker called a time out to calm her team down. Yes, the Lady Panthers were being outscored significantly in the final frame, but that didn’t negate all the good work they did in the first 24 minutes.
“The energy felt like [Kaycee] had gone on a 15-0 run and suddenly were winning by five,” Walker said. “I reminded the girls that we are still winning the game right now. We are still ahead. … And that’s part of game management, understanding [Kaycee] is going to gain momentum, but we are still in control.”
Madison Troll and McKenna Auzqui hit four consecutive free throws for the Lady Panthers, which put them ahead 51-47 with 40 seconds left. Pierson made one of two freebies with 29 seconds to play and — after a front-end miss from Auzqui — Shelly Ramirez had a look from 3-point land just before the final buzzer but misfired.
Unlike the Lady Buckaroos, the Lady Panthers had a balanced scoring attack. Troll led the way with 14 points, while Krista Malli and Auzqui tallied 10 and nine points, respectively.
“I think our team is pretty well rounded,” Troll said. “We trust each other, and that’s what makes us successful. No one man is the strongest, and we all know that. We all share. We all love to assist. We all are excited when other people are successful.”
Kristin Klaahsen entered Friday as AC’s leading scorer and she only had six points. Brooke Worman, who came in averaging north of eight points per game, only chipped in two points. All seven Lady Panthers that checked into Friday’s game contributed on the final scoreboard.
“That’s kind of been our focus this year,” Walker said. “We don’t want to be a team that a coach can target one kid and take them out of the game. … On any given night we can have a different kid have a great game.”
The win improved AC to 16-5 overall and 7-0 in conference play, while the loss dropped Kaycee to 8-13 overall and 5-3 in league play. The Lady Panthers finish up the regular season Saturday against Midwest.
Kaycee……………..13 11 12 12 — 48
Arvada-Clearmont…12 18 11 10 — 51
Kaycee — Pierson 26; J. Ramirez 5; S. Ramirez 5; Malson 4; Maya 4; Orlega 3; Fauber 1;
Arvada-Clearmont — Troll 14; Malli 10; Auzqui 9; Klaahsen 6; Beam 5; Smith 3; Worman 2
Panthers fall to Buckaroos
CLEARMONT — The Arvada-Clearmont boys basketball team dropped a home game against Kaycee 61-25 Friday. The loss dropped the Panthers to 1-18 on the season.
Tanner Handy led AC with eight points, while Parker Manor chipped in seven points.
The Panthers close the regular season Saturday at home against Midwest.