With starting senior guard Darrian Pickering already on the sidelines in street clothes nursing a thumb injury, the Eagles in the early minutes of the game suffered another lineup loss, with starting sophomore Sada Smith leaving the game with a suspected collarbone injury. The Panthers looked like they were going to give Kingman a run for their money. But the Eagles let go of what they couldn’t control, and took care of the things they could.
As it turned out, Kingman had seven players tally points, with three of them reaching double figures.
“If you would have told me tonight with no Darrian and no Sada we would still score 47, I’d have called you crazy,” said Batt. “Those two do so much for us, but I think the other kids really battled and stepped up. They took the shots we needed to take, and we knocked them down.”
After ending the first quarter with a scant 8-6 lead, Kingman allowed the Panthers only two points in the second quarter to close the half at 20-8.
The Eagles would continue to dominate in the third, ending the quarter on a buzzer-beater from Sara Rohlman from three-point land, to give Kingman a 36-14 advantage.
But the Eagles came back rather sluggish at the top of the fourth, allowing Nickerson to go on a 11-0 run. Kingman came out of its slump as Rebekah Voran dished an assist Rohlman around the four-minute mark. Rohlman, Voran and Madison Bangert would capitalize on free-throw opportunites, and Jaden Berschaur sank a trey, while only allowing two Panther points in the form of a Paige Stewart put-back.
With 10 seconds remaining, Rohlman scored off a Berschaur assist, to give the Eagles a 20-point advantage.
Stewart drew a foul on the final Panther possession, and sank one free-throw to close the game.
While Batt would have preferred his squad not give up 11 consecutive points, he was also understanding.
“We got maybe a little full on ourselves for a minute, but at the same time we were awfully tired. Luckily, we had a decent lead. We kind of regrouped and started handling their pressure they way we should, and shot a couple layups against it. We got back into the groove at the end of the game,” Batt said.
Bangert and Rohlman both tallied 12 for the Eagles, while Berschaur scored 11. Stewart paced the Panthers with 13.
Now 6-13, the Eagles will prepare to face Hillsboro at home on Tuesday. Nickerson, 1-17, will face Lyons on the road.