Cougar basketball teams take losses against the Panthers

Though their scores were close at times, the Illinois Valley High School boys and girls varsity basketball teams struggled to keep up when they played against the Gold Beach Panthers Friday, Jan. 6.
The boys game was first, and although the Cougars’ guard was strong in the beginning it was no match for their opponents’ teamwork.

No. 23, Tabor Braaten brings the ball down court while No. 2 Daniel Polk and No.4, Jesse Connell look on.

The large audience sat beneath the bright lights of the gym, cheering the boys on as they emerged onto the court. Though the Cougars valiantly attempted to keep the ball out of the Panthers’ hands, they found themselves repeatedly faltering and allowing the opposition to gain an advantage. Throughout the first quarter, it seemed as though every time the Cougars succeeded in making a basket, the Panthers made at least two. Though the home team began to pull through toward the end of the quarter, by the time the buzzer sounded the score was 18-7 in the Panthers’ favor.
Despite the Cougars’ best efforts, this pattern continued into the second quarter. The Cougars’ score stayed firm at 7 while the Panthers’ score rose to 32. Eventually the home team began to catch up to their opponents, but by halftime things were looking grim- the score was 41-20, with the Panthers score double that of the Cougars.

No. 4 Jesse Connell goes up for a layup during the home loss Friday, Jan. 6. (Photos by Lindsay Martinho for the Illinois Valley News)

After halftime, the home team renewed their focus and began to gain on the opposition once again, but like the first half of the game they seemed to be outmatched. By the time the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter, the Panthers were leading 65-45.
The Cougars’ stunning display of strength and unity towards the end of the game did not go unnoticed as they ferociously battled to gain on the Panthers. They managed to work their way out of the 20 point difference slowly, and although they lost the game 61-79, it’s early enough in the season for this to be a good learning experience for the boys.
Lady Cougs

No. 5 Isabella Podoll / Elliott, 11th grade; No. 13 Shelby Reed, 11th grade; and No. 4 Shylee Merritt, 12th grade, fight for a rebound duing the home loss Friday, Jan. 6. (Photos by Lindsay Martinho for the Illinois Valley News)

The girls varsity game started out stronger than the boys, with the Cougars and Panthers tying the score 4-4 toward the beginning of the first quarter. The Lady Cougars even gained a distinct edge on their opponents, keeping their guard up and preventing the Panthers from making several shots. At the end of the quarter their score sat at 16-10 in favor of the home team.
This was unfortunately the only advantage that the girls team seemed to gain, as during the second round they were met and matched by the Panthers. The Cougars didn’t make a single shot that round, and the Panthers caught up. By halftime, they were tied 16-16.
Though morale was still high, the Lady Cougars were shaken, which became obvious as the game progressed. The Panthers took the lead, though it wasn’t much of one at first. By the end of the third quarter, however, the score was in the opposing team’s favor, 24-19.
While the Cougars played a relentless game, trying desperately to catch up to their opponents, they were only able to score four more points in the final quarter, while the Panthers repeatedly blasted through their guard. By the end of the game, the Cougars were defeated 35-23.