On Friday, Feb. 15, the Oswego Panthers took the court in their first regional championship in four years. They took on the East Aurora Tomcats, and took home the title by the score 46-23.
The Panthers were led by junior Jenelle Rogers, who set the tone with 18 first half points.
“It’s a blessing to have her,” Coach John Carlson said.
Rogers would finish with a game high 23 points, which was half of the Oswego offense.
The Panthers came out of the gate hot playing very well defensively, shutting down the Tomcats offense, and only allowing a total of 10 points in the first half. The Panthers went into the locker room up 27-10 at the half.
“Play our defense… force them to shoot,” Carlson said about the message coming out of the locker room. “We knew we had to be able to break their press”.
East Aurora started the second half on fire, scoring 10 points in just the first 1:40 in the third quarter. After a quick time out, the Panthers settled back down and gained control the second half.
Despite the hot start, the Panthers held their ground and controlled the remainder of the game.
“[The Tomcats] hustle a lot,” Carlson said. “They came back and knocked down seven to eight points off the lead.”
The team practiced hard all week in order to prepare. They were determined to not let their historic turnaround season end here.
“ working together as a team and focusing on the things we’ve been practicing on because it’s just another game,” Rogers stated.
The Panthers will look to a sectional final for the first time since 2010 when they take on Bolingbrook Raiders in the sectional semifinal on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Plainfield North.