PORTLAND - A strong shooting performance from behind the arc and a solid defensive effort helped guild the Portland Lady Panthers to a 32-29 win at home over visiting Wilson Central.
Both Lille Whitehead and Katie McCloud came off the bench to score a combined 21 of their team’s 32 points.
“I thought we really handled our composure well tonight,” Portland head coach Scott Steinbrecher said. “It was something we’ve worked on all year. When things got bad we settled down quickly, and our girls kept grinding and playing hard-nosed defense.”
After Wilson Central jumped out to a 6-0 lead, Whitehead helped the Lady Panthers get back into the game with five consecutive points, including a three.
McCloud then swung the momentum fully in Portland’s favor as she sunk three consecutive 3-pointers, giving the Lady Panthers a 9-0 scoring run and a 16-10 lead.
The Lady Wildcats eventually came back to tie the game at 18 in the third quarter, but never regained the lead. A three from Rayleigh Hester early in the fourth quarter gave Portland a 24-19 advantage.
“In the beginning, Portland hit some good shots that they typically don’t hit,” Wilson Central coach Erica Wilson said. “That tends to happen more for teams when they’re playing at home, and we just didn’t have an answer for it tonight.”
The Lady Panthers also hit eight free throws in the fourth that gave them enough cushion to hold on for the win.
Girls Box Score
Portland (32)- Lillie Whitehead 11, Katie McCloud 10, Abi Thomerson 5, Rayleigh Hester 3, Sami Parker 2, Abbie Tomlinson 1
Wilson Central (29)- Nicole Brill 11, Campbell Strange 8, Jasmin Angel 5, Jakoria Woods 5.