DERBY, Kan. - It may be early December, but Tuesday night's contest between Maize and Derby definitely had a March Madness feel to it. 6A's top ranked Panthers couldn't shake a talented Eagles team until late in the game and held on for a 50-40 victory.
Dec, 11, 2018; Derby, Kansas, USA; The Derby Panthers played the Maize Eagles in a AVCTL showdown at Derby ©Kelly Ross
Dating back to last season Derby was looking for its twenty fourth straight victory, but they had to earn the win in a very physical game. A grinding style of play forced Panther center Kennedy Brown to the bench with early foul trouble in the first quarter. But Sydney Nilles, Aliyah Myers, Katelyn Kennedy, and Tor'e Alford all chipped in to give Derby a 25-22 lead at halftime.
Maize was resilient and answered every time the Panthers scored early in the second half. Halie Jones led the Eagles with 12 points. Alexis Cauthon was close behind with 9. This was a back-and-forth affair until the fourth quarter.
With just two minutes to go in the game Maize was down by just four. But Alford gave Derby the breathing room they desperately needed when she hit a three pointer from the corner. The Eagles could never overcome the Panther's 7 point lead and dropped a hard fought game on the road. On a strong second half Kennedy Brown led Derby in scoring with 16. Alford also had a nice night with 15.