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Senior Night marks the end of regular season play and sometimes the end of a career. So participants always expect a win, but neither of Carroll County High School’s varsity basketball teams got that wish last week.
The Walton-Verona Bearcats and Lady Bearcats made sure of that.
The Panthers on Thursday, Feb. 19, led most of the first half of their Senior Night game. Chris Hendrick scored first for the Panthers, adding bucket after bucket as he and Bearcat Jordan Ponzer contributed 26 points each for their teams.
Junior Will Yager went on a three-point shooting spree, hitting two in the first quarter and one each in the second and third quarters. His total on the night was 16.
The boys were down by 2 points at half-time; their defense took a vacation, turning over the ball on several trips down the floor.
With less than four minutes on the clock, the Panthers led by nine. Fouls and missed shots let the Bearcats back in, and they scratched past, winning 64 to 60.
The loss left Head Coach Carroll Yager nearly speechless – and frustrated.
“I think some of the guys were trying to make a play they didn’t have,” he said. “Everybody wanted to take it upon themselves to make a big play. We didn’t stay with the stuff that got us our lead.”
On Friday, Feb. 20, things were about the same for the Lady Panthers.
The game was evenly paced, but the home team was plagued by missed shots in the final minutes of the game, allowing a Lady Bearcat comeback and ending in a loss in overtime. In OT, the home team couldn’t cash in on open shots.
Seniors Lindsay Wallace and Lakeshia Henderson were larcenous, with five four steals, respectively, on the night. As a team, they had 16 steals to the Lady Bearcats’ five.
Toward the end of the last quarter, Wallace put the Lady Panthers ahead; then Henderson hit a trey. Freshman Hannah Devine hit a deuce with less than two minutes, bringing the score to 41-38 for the home team. But, seconds later, a Lady Bearcat trey knotted the score and forced overtiime play.
The Lady Bearcats scored first, bringing the score to 41-43; the Lady Panthers missed several opportunities to score.
After a time-out called by Henderson, the Lady Panthers returned with a plan but weren’t able to convert it into points.
Shots from both teams from the charity stripe resulted in a final score of 43-47, Bearcats.
“We had some good looks at the basket,” Mefford said. “I kept thinking one of them would fall, but they didn’t. We didn’t play as well in the last three or four minutes as we needed to.”