RILEY — Ranked teams keep popping up on the Concordia Panthers’ schedule.
Playing a third ranked team in a row, the Panthers fell behind Riley County, sixth in Class 3A, by 17 points in the second half.
Concordia battled back to within 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but a scoring drought of nearly five minutes proved costly in the 36-24 loss to the Falcons on Tuesday night.
The Panthers were coming off a win over a Pike Valley team that was ranked in Class 1A a week earlier, and a loss to Holton, number one in 4A, on Saturday night.
“I was trying to keep that a secret because I felt like on Saturday we were deer in the headlights,” Concordia coach Michael Wahlmeier said of Riley County being ranked, “The first quarter we were kind of like that again, but after that we settled down and figured out we could play with them.”
Riley County (11-5) scored the first two points of the game, before a basket by Molly Adams made it a 4-2 game.
Concordia would not score again in the period as the Falcons went on a 12-0 run to open up a 16-2 advantage.
A long jumper by Nikki Blankenbeckley and two free throws by Tristen Leiszler in the first 1:30 of the second quarter left Concordia trailing just 16-6.
Leiszler answered a basket by the Falcons with a three-point shot to pull the Panthers within nine points, 18-9.
Madison Vargo went one of two from the free throw line and Makayla Vargo knocked down a three to push the Falcons’ lead to 22-9.
Jera Metro scored inside, and Concordia trailed 22-11.
Makayla Vargo, who led Riley County with 15 points, scored the final four of the first half to make it 26-11.
A bucket by Makayla Vargo gave the Falcons a 28-11 cushion.
Concordia (3-13) got a basket by Megan James.
A layup by Kelly Thomson upped the lead to 17 points again, 30-13.
Riley County would not score again in the quarter, and missed all seven three-point attempts.
“They weren’t shooting very well, and hopefully that was because of our defense. We were rotating better in our zone,” Wahlmeier said.
James, who finished with nine points, scored five straight to end the third quarter, and it was a 30-18 game.
A bucket by James early in the final period trimmed the deficit to 10 points, 30-20.
The Panthers had opportunities to draw closer, but were unable to knock down a shot.
A jumper by Madison Vargo, two free throws by Thomson and a free throw by Oliver gave Riley County a 35-20 cushion.
Molly Adams scored inside, and Concordia was down 35-22 with 2:10 to play.
Riley County hit just one of five free throws down the stretch, but the Panthers managed just a layup by Leiszler during that stretch.
“They are a good team,” Wahlmeier said.
Leiszler scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds for Concordia.
Adams added four points and five rebounds.
Metro pulled down six rebounds.
Thomson scored nine points for Riley County.
The Panthers will host Chapman in a North Central Kansas League game on Friday night.
K. Lambert 0-0-2 0, M. Lambert 0-0-1 0, Metro 1-0-1 2, Adams 2-0-3 4, Blankenbeckley 1-0-3 2, Leiszler 2-2-1 7, James 4-1-2 9. Totals: 10-4-13 24.
RILEY COUNTY (36)
Busch 1-0-1 2, Mad. Vargon 1-1-2 3, Kulp 1-0-1 2, Thomson 3-3-1 9, Mak. Vargo 7-0-2 15, Oliver 0-1-3 1, Engle 0-0-1 0, Prockish 2-0-0 4. Totals: 15-5-11 36.