Lady Panthers go 3-1 in holiday tournament, fall to Stark County in title game
PRINCETON — The Putnam County Lady Panthers advanced to the championship game of the Princeton Holiday Tournament on Nov. 23, but fell to the Lady Rebels of Stark County, 43-25.
With the win, Stark County avenged last year’s loss to Putnam County in the tournament’s title game.
Stark County jumped out to a 35-18 lead after three quarters and coasted to the win.
Putnam County went 3-1 in the tourney, with wins over Bureau Valley, Henry and Streator.
Putnam County junior Sophia Harris was named to the all-tournament team, comprised of the top six players in the tournament.
Putnam County 28, Bureau Valley 27
The Putnam County girls basketball team jumped out early and then held off a furious Bureau Valley comeback for a 28-27 victory during the final day of pool play of the Princeton Holiday Tournament on Nov. 22.
With the win, the Lady Panthers returned to the championship game in a rematch of the 2018 final against Stark County.
Putnam County came out strong and used its size advantage with Sophia Harris and Molly Boyd in the post.
Harris in particular dominated for the Lady Panthers with 10 points in the opening quarter, but the Storm were able to close the quarter strong and close the gap to 13-12.
“We thought we had an advantage there in the post,” Putnam County coach Jared Sale said. “Sophia really came out strong and got us ahead there in the opening quarter and first half really.”
Harris continued her strong play in the second quarter as her layup pushed the lead to 18-13. Boyd’s five-foot jumper made it 20-13.
Just moments later, Boyd again used her size with a strong post move for a 22-13 lead, but Sam Bohm got a rebound and a stick back for the Storm, who trailed 24-17 at halftime.
Both teams struggled offensively in the second half. Caitlyn Cioni had a strong drive to the hoop for a 26-18 PC edge and then Kyra Stoller followed with a drive and bank shot at the other end for the Storm.
Bureau Valley started to double down in the post and Harris picked up her third and fourth fouls, sending her to the bench for a good portion of the second half.
The Storm had their chances to cut into the lead but could only manage three points themselves in the third quarter after missing several bunny shots and close range jumpers.
Stoller hit a shot with her foot on the 3-point line and Madison Dye hit a 15-foot jump shot that cut BV’s deficit to 26-25.
Olivia Lamis ended a Putnam County drought that lasted several minutes, but both defenses were the name of the game the rest of the night.
Every shot was contested and it resulted in several turnovers for both teams.
Bureau Valley had three turnovers in the final minute of the contest.
Putnam County had a chance to ice the game, but missed the front end of a one-and-one on two occasions.
PC’s Harris led all scorers with 15 points, which all came in the first half.
Putnam County 37, Henry 24
The Lady Panthers moved to 2-0 in the White Pool of the Princeton Holiday Tournament by defeating the Lady Mallards in the second contest on Nov. 19.
Putnam County was led by Sophia Harris with 13 points, Caitlyn Cioni with 12 and Molly Boyd with 10.
Henry was led by Keally Braman with 10 points and Tandyn VanEtten with 10 rebounds.
Putnam County 33, Streator 29
The Lady Panthers held off a late rally by the Lady Bulldogs to win the opening game on Nov. 18. Sophia Harris led PC with 16 points, followed by fellow junior Caitlyn Cioni (11), while Natali Haynes led Streator with 12 points.