CLEARMONT — The Arvada-Clearmont High School basketball teams capped off the regular season with two home court wins Saturday against Midwest.
The girls game began with a slow start offensively. After the first eight minutes, each team had only scored one basket apiece.
The second quarter continued to see a lot of shot attempts.
About halfway through the second quarter, Arvada-Clearmont put up about a dozen attempts in a row without a single shot falling. They secured their own rebound most of the time and eventually started to grow the score.
At halftime, the scoreboard read 19-8 in favor of the Lady Panthers.
Arvada-Clearmont kept Midwest down all of the third quarter, only allowing the Oilers four baskets. Heading into the fourth quarter, Arvada-Clearmont maintained the lead, 33-16.
The Lady Panthers continued to grow their lead and ended the game 45-26. Senior Ashlynn Fennema led the team with 13 points and junior Krista Malli earned 11 points.
Lady Panthers coach Sarah Walker credited the win as a “collective effort,” noting that her team utilized seven different scorers.
When discussing Arvada-Clearmont’s offensive improvement in the second half, Walker said that her team “moved back to taking good shots and showing confidence. In the first half, we lacked a lot of confidence in our shot. So we started looking for easier baskets.”
Walker is proud of her team and excited for regionals.
“It doesn’t matter what you come in ranked. This is ‘figure-out-how-to-get-the-job-done’ season now. The postseason is about who shows up every game and figures out a way to win,” Walker said.
On the boys side, the Panthers faced the challenge of playing with only five athletes the entire game. Both teams came out eager to score, and at the end of the first quarter, Arvada-Clearmont led 14-12.
The Oilers led the Panthers by a basket or two most of the second quarter. A rapid succession of back-and-forth scoring in the last two minutes managed to put Arvada-Clearmont up 31-28 when the first half expired.
Panthers coach Cameron Spade told his players at halftime to “be a little bit more patient on offense,” which is advice that would end up paying off.
Not long into the third quarter, Midwest had managed to take the lead again. Midwest hit a 3-pointer, but Arvada-Clearmont’s junior Cameron Klatt quickly responded with a breakaway layup to halt Midwest’s momentum.
The Panthers continued to build their score and closed the third quarter of the game, leading 43-40.
It was not until the fourth quarter that the Panthers were able to pull ahead enough to secure an irreversible lead. While the Oilers appeared to be running out of gas, the five Panthers didn’t show signs of slowing down.
When discussing one way that the Panthers have adapted to playing with five, Spade mentioned strategic forethinking many teams don’t have to consider.
“They have to get used to figuring out when to slow the ball down or when they do have a fast break if they can make it with passes rather than dribbling. That saves a little bit of energy,” Spade said.
By the end of the fourth quarter, the Panthers had clinched the win, 66-40. Junior Torrey Veach led offensively with 27 points, while senior Parker Manor contributed 15.
The Panthers end their season with Saturday’s win, while the Lady Panthers travel to Douglas for regionals Feb. 27-29.