Panthers battle hard but fall short against Clay Center
Playing with a nothing-to-lose attitude, the Concordia Panthers battled fifth-ranked Clay Center to the final seconds before suffering a 58-53 defeat Tuesday night in the Concordia Junior-Senior High School gymnasium.
Concordia had lost two previous meetings to Clay Center by a combined 50 points, but kept it close throughout the third time around.
Trailing by eight points in the fourth quarter, the Panthers fought back to within three, 56-53, when Megan James made two free throws with 13 seconds to play.
Alyx Bloom knocked down a pair of free throws two seconds later, and Clay Center was able to hold on for the win in the final game of the regular season.
“We had talked about how we hadn’t had a very good home game for a while. We wanted to go out and put on a good game,” Concordia coach Michael Wahlmeier said, “I felt like they gave our seniors, our team, their best effort.”
The two teams will meet for a fourth time in the opening round of the Class 4A sub-state tournament in Clay Center on Tuesday night.
Clay Center (17-3) is the number two seed, and Concordia (3-17) is the number seven seed.
Concordia scored first in the game when Nikki Blankenbeckley hit a three-point shot, but Clay Center went on an 11-2 run to go up 11-5.
The Panthers limited the Tigers to just two points over the final 3:18 of the first quarter, and scored four, including a steal and layup by Tristen Leiszler as time ran out, to close the gap to 14-9.
Trailing 16-11, Concordia got a three-point shot by Leiszler and a layup by Blankenbeckley to tie the game at 16-16.
Clay Center would reclaim the lead at 23-19.
Blankenbeckley followed up a missed shot, and Katie Lambert pulled down an offensive rebound and scored.
Lambert was fouled, and made the free throw to give Concordia a 24-23 advantage with 27 seconds to play in the first half.
“She got some put backs and got an and one,” Wahlmeier said of Lambert, who came off the bench to score seven points and grab eight rebounds.
Bloom, who led all scorers with 21 points, was fouled with 1.9 seconds on the clock. She made both free throws to put the Tigers back up 25-24.
Clay Center opened the second half with an 11-4 spurt to push the lead to eight points, 36-28.
Five straight points by Leiszler and a follow by Lambert got the Panthers back within a point, 36-35.
Leiszler, with 12 points, was one of three Panthers to score in double figures.
Clay Center outscored Concordia 6-2 in a span of 1:52, and led 42-37 heading into the final period.
The Panthers trailed 53-45 when they made one final run at the Tigers.
Molly Adams scored inside to get things started.
Adams led the way for the Panthers with 13 points and seven rebounds.
“I thought a big part of why we were in it was Molly inside,” Wahlmeier said.
Bloom made one of two free throws to put Clay Center up 54-47 wih 45 seconds on the clock.
Leiszler hit from 15 feet 11 seconds later, and it was 54-49.
Two free throws by Alyssa Steppe with 24 seconds left made it a 56-49 game.
Adams grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, and Concordia came up with a steal.
James drew a foul with 13 seconds left, and made both free throws to make it a one possession game, 56-53.
Two free throws by Bloom two seconds later gave the Tigers a 58-53 cushion, and the Panthers would not score after that.
“The girls are learning they can play with some of the best teams in a our League,” Wahlmeier said.
James matched Leiszler with 12 points and also had four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Macy Franson scored 11 points for Clay Center.
CLAY CENTER (58)
Franson 5-0-2 11, Cooper 2-0-1 4, Folks 1-0-0 2, Steppe 3-2-2 9, Bloom 6-7-1 21, Edmunson 2-1-1 5, Ebert 0-0-1 0, Dieckmann 2-2-5 6. Totals: 21-12-13 58.
K. Lambert 3-1-2 7, M. Lambert 1-0-2 2, Adams 6-1-4 13, Blankenbeckley 3-0-3 7, Leiszler 4-2-3 12, James 4-4-2 12. Totals: 21-8-16 53.
GREAT BEND — With her team struggling to shake the Cloud County Thunderbirds, Phikala Anthony took control. Anthony outscored Cloud County 13-5 to extend a two-point lead to an 85-75 cushion, and the Barton Community College Cougars pulled out an 86-75 Jayhawk Conference... [More]
It will be better than a week before the Concordia Panthers take the floor again, but when they do it will be with some renewed confidence. Concordia wrapped up the regular season with a 73-41 North Central Kansas League victory over Clay Center Tuesday night in the... [More]
- Rematch looms after Cougars down T-Birds, 78-69
- CCCC pulls out 6-5 win over Grizzlies
- T-Birds pound out 15-2 win over Hesston
- Tigers top CHS JV
- CCCC men, women place third
- Panthers tumble in league tournament
- Holmes breaks scoring record, but Panthers fall, 76-64
- Panthers slip past Red Raiders, 54-52
At the quarterly intergovernmental meeting in Clyde Wednesday night, Cloud County Commissioner Bill Czapanskiy told those in attendance that problems continue to plague the new law enforcement center and jail. Since the jail’s completion in March 2014, there have... [More]
District Court CIVIL Filed: Kansas Department for Children and Families received a judgment of $3,746 plus interest and costs from Laura A. Hittle, Concordia. LIMITED CIVIL Settled: Credit Management Services Inc. received a judgment of $3,196.47 plus interest and costs from... [More]
The Cloud County Community College board of trustees accepted a feasibility study Tuesday night, paving the way to move forward with fundraising for a new multipurpose facility on the Concordia campus. Since September 2014, Carlton & Company has been conducting... [More]
The Rest of the Story . . . . It would be nice if we could follow the same news stories night after night, and favorite writers would follow up on all sorts of things after they have us hooked on what has happened. How long has it... [More]
Dear Editor, Many Thanks. On behalf of the Cloud County Community College Thunderbird Booster Club, I would like to thank the businesses, organizations and individuals for all their sponsorship of the 11th season of the Concordia Biddy Basketball League. This... [More]