Credit: Mario Rios, 42Fifty

Girls Basketball: It was a game to forget for all involved. A game full of missed layups and turnovers, Oswego (14-7, 7-2) prevailed, winning over Waubonsie Valley 38-31. The Panthers only had one player reach double figures, but the real story came from the bench, where they got a big boost from senior Taylor Tarver and junior McKenna Engler. 

Despite the sloppy play, the game never got out of hand in one team’s favor or another. The matchup remained close until the very bitter end. 

The game started as if it was going to be a high scoring and exciting matchup, as Oswego jumped out to an early 7-0 lead. Not to be outdone, the Warriors stormed back with a 13-0 run and left the first quarter with a 15-9 lead. 

The bricks started to pile up in the second, as Waubonsie was only able to convert one field goal. The Panthers attempted to take advantage but couldn’t do much themselves, collecting just 11 points in the quarter on three field goals and 4-6 shooting at the free-throw line. Oswego took a 20-18 lead into halftime. 

“Our shooting has been up and down all season,” Panther head coach John Carlson said. “We rely on our defense [because] we usually play pretty good defense.” 

The third quarter resembled more of track meet than a real game, as the two teams combined for five points with only two field goals (one for each team). The two squads also combined for a combined 1-6 at the free-throw line, as the Panthers outscored the Warriors 3-2 in the quarter. 

“The third quarter was rough on both teams,” Carlson said. 

Despite the struggles from the field, both teams remained persistent, continuing to play tough defense and force turnovers to give their team an opportunity. 

“I like hustle,” Tarver said. “I like the aggressiveness. I start off by getting on ‘D’.” 

Both teams had to find a way to fight through the lull that the third quarter provided in terms of adrenaline and excitement.

“You have to gather the team back together,” Tarver said about playing through the rough third. “Your mind is somewhere else but you have to relax and you have to get back to basics and run the offense.” 

The Panthers took a three-point lead into the fourth and extended on it early before Waubonsie Valley brought it back to a three-point differential thanks to a push propelled by junior Mykah Berkompas in the last two minutes. Berkompas finished with 11 points, including three-pointers. 

The Panthers held off the last-minute effort of the Warriors thanks to clutch free throws from freshman Mia Moore. She went 5-7 from the line in the fourth, to cap off her 13 points, two rebound performance to lead Panther scorers. 

Other stat lines of note include Senior Jenelle Rogers who put up seven points, six of which came in clutch time in the fourth, and 12 rebounds. Engler scored four points, seven rebounds, and two assists. Senior Angelina Schlinger picked up six points, four boards, and three assists. 

Offensively, the Panthers couldn’t buy a field goal at times and struggled at the line shooting a combined 12-28 (42.9%). 

“We definitely could do better,” Tarver said about Oswego’s offensive execution. “We need to work on the game situations in our practice. We’re doing it well in our practice but we have to apply it to the game.”

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