by Samantha Lefebvre
Despite having two top ten ranked athletes in the state for assists, steals, and rebounds, PACT Charter School (11-6) was not able to defeat New Life Academy of Woodbury (6-10) in a Minnesota Christian Athletic Association contest Jan. 27.
The Panthers fell into a double digit deficit and were not able to climb their way out, resulting in a 19-point loss to the Eagles, 61-42.
“Sometimes it is hard to get out of that little rut,” Panthers senior guard Rachel Butler said. “I mean you have those days and today we weren’t totally jiving at some points.”
Senior forward Emily Platt started off with the first basket for the Panthers, giving them a small lead early in the game. The Eagles responded with a seven point run. Then Butler went to the line and made both free throws to tie up the game 9-9 at the 13:30 mark.
Three scoreless minutes went by with the Panthers trailing by two, when Butler went to the line again. Again she did not miss her free throws and tied up the game for the second time, 13-13.
The Panthers were only behind by five points in the last minute of the first half, but a three pointer from the Eagles set them back eight at the end of the first half, 21-29.
Early in the second half, the Panthers were able to close their deficit to five points, but back to back three’s from the Eagles put them behind 11 points, 30-41. Butler responded to the back to back three pointers and made one of her own, making it the third consecutive three pointer of the game.
From that point on the Panthers played catch up and worked towards closing the point gap, but every time they got close the Eagles just pulled away even further. Down 15 points with two minutes left on the clock, the Panthers were only able to add two more points to the scoreboard for the loss.
“We knew it was going to be a tough one. New Life is a very good team,” PACT coach Scott Antl said. “The girls worked hard. We got pulled in the second half with our shooting and New Life kind of got a little hot. It is what it is and they are a very good team.”
“It is good to have those losses, because it helps you come back the next game even stronger,” Butler said.
“Yeah we have to move on and look ahead, not mourn on it,” Nelson said.
Butler, who averages 19 points a game, led the Panthers with 21 points, 10 rebounds and three steals for another double-double. She is ranked fourth in the state for rebounds, 196. Platt put up 10 points and seven rebounds. Senior guard Beth Nelson contributed seven assists. Nelson leads the state in assists, 127.
“It was a rough game tonight, but we have to get back on the horse,” Antl said. “We have a tough week next week.”
The Panthers will hit the road to take on Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity Jan. 31 and top 1A ranked Maranatha on Feb. 2.