Coming back from the holiday break, the Saint Jo Lady Panthers hosted Forestburg on Friday.
The Lady Panthers trapping defense and tenaciousness on the offensive glass allowed them to win the low scoring game 32-19.
The first quarter was all Saint Jo. The Lady Panthers had their players waiting at mid-court to trap the Lady Horns and forced turnovers. Forestburg tried to force some long passes to try and beat it, but Saint Jo made them pay.
Not many of the turnovers could be converted directly to points so the Lady Panthers had to find the little holes in the Lady Horns zone defense. The short to mid-range shots far enough away from Forestburg’s big post Morgan Miller allowed open shots where Emma Martin and Bailey Parker combined for 10 of their points.
When the Lady Horns were able to set up in their offense, they tried their best to get the ball to Miller, who was easily taller than everyone on the court. Saint Jo tweaked its defense to always have two players on Miller at all times to try and prevent her from getting the ball because once she catches it all they could really do is hope she misses. The Lady Panthers put all this together to get out to a 15-2 lead in the first quarter.
After that Forestburg picked up its defensive intensity and did a good job of being physical, although offensively it still struggled to find quality shots. Only six points were scored all of the second quarter between the two teams as Saint Jo led 17-6 at halftime.
The third quarter saw the Lady Panthers start to play a bit more physical as well. They crashed the offensive boards and got multiple second chance shots up during possessions. Saint Jo also got to the free throw line, using the physical Lady Horns play against them.
Both teams scored much more than in the second quarter, but the Lady Panthers lead increased to 27-12 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Lady Horns made two three-pointers in the quarter and again limited Saint Jo offensively. The Lady Panthers were able to do enough in the final period to not let their lead get in any danger as they coasted to their first district win 32-19.
Saint Jo next plays at Gold-Burg at 6 p.m. on Jan. 10. The Lady Horns will travel to Prairie Valley to play at 6 p.m. on Jan. 10.
To read the full story, pick up a copy of the mid-week edition of the Bowie News.