Three-pointers fire Falcons past Panthers, 66-56

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 It was no secret.  The Concordia Panthers knew that the Riley County Falcons were going to rely on the three-point shot.
The Panthers knew it, but still struggled to stop it.
Riley County, ranked second in Class 3A by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, knocked down 13 threes on its way to a 66-56 victory over Concordia Tuesday night in the Concordia Junior-Senior High School gymnasium.
“We knew they were good shooters,” Concordia coach Michael Wahlmeier said, “I think we gave them too much space in the first half and they got hot and they didn't miss much after that.”
Madison Vargo connected on six threes on the way to scoring 25 points for the Falcons.
Katelyn Thomson knocked down four treys, and scored 15 points.
Taylor Oliver hit three threes, and finished with 11 points.
Riley County hit seven threes in the first half, but Concordia was able to keep pace and trailed just 34-33.
Megan James hit a short baseline jumper 29 seconds into the second half, and the Panthers led 35-34.
A three by Oliver, and two by Vargo gave Riley County the lead back at 43-35.
Concordia was unable to catch back up.
“I think we had some turnovers in the second half that hurt, and let them get the lead, and we couldn't get over the hump,” Wahlmeier said.
Concordia would get as close as three points, 45-42, when Tristen Leiszler scored on a drive with 3:44 to play in the third quarter.
Threes by Vargo and Thomson and two free throws by Bethany Crubel extended the Falcons' lead to 53-42.
Leiszler scored with two seconds remaining in the period to close the gap to 53-44.
A basket by James early in the fourth quarter made it a 53-46 game.
Vargo answered with a three.
Heidi Prockish scored four straight points, and Riley County led 60-46.
Concordia could get no closer than nine points after that.
It was the second straight loss for the Panthers, who fall to 8-6.
Riley County improved to 14-1.
James led Concordia with 18 points. She was 7 of 11 from the field and four of four from the free throw line.
Leiszler hit 5 of 15 field goal attempts and all six of her free throws in scoring 17 points.
Jordan Eshbaugh added seven points and five rebounds.
With Leiszler scoring seven points, the Panthers jumped out to a 9-1 lead in the game.
Riley County used the three-point shot to get back into the game.
The Falcons knocked down four threes, and trimmed the deficit to one point, 17-16, at the end of the first quarter.
A follow by Jennifer Boley gave Concordia a 19-16 lead 11 seconds into the second period.
Boley came off the bench to score six points in the first half.
“I thought she (Boley) played very well which was good,” Wahlmeier said.
Alyssa Kulp hit one of two free throws for Riley County.
Concordia then ripped off seven straight points, five by James, and had its biggest lead at 26-17.
The Falcons responded with a 17-4 run to take a 34-30 lead.
A three-point play by Eshbaugh with three seconds on the clock left Concordia trailing just 34-33 at halftime.
The Panthers scored first in the second half to reclaim the lead, but couldn't withstand the Falcons' three-point barrage.
“We were just giving up too many of them,” Wahlmeier said.
Concordia plays a North Central Kansas League game at Chapman on Friday night.

Vargo 6-7-1 25, Clouse 0-0-1 0, Thomson 5-1-1 15, Kulp 0-4-3 4, Oliver 4-0-2 11, Crubel 0-2-3 2, Martin 1-0-0 2, Engle 0-0-4 0, Prokish 1-5-2 7. Totals: 17-19-17 66.
Gumm 0-0-3 0, Lambert 2-0-5 4, Eshbaugh 2-3-3 7, Adams 2-0-3 4, Boley 3-0-1 6, Leiszler 5-6-1 17, James 7-4-4 18. Totals: 21-13-19 56.


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