MILL CREEK — The weekend of talented competition didn’t do any favors for the Panthers’ overall record, but it could pay dividends as the season moves forward.
Wenatchee capped its first weekend back on the court with a 64-51 road loss to Jackson, who entered the weekend ranked 7th in the Tacoma News-Tribune’s 4A state poll. Wenatchee (5-4 overall, 3-1 Big Nine) lost a 48-47 nail biter to Lakeside at home Friday.
But coach Ron Stone said he saw plenty of signs his squad is moving in the right direction. The offensive rebounding kept his team afloat Friday and continued to be effective Saturday.
The Panthers faced a daunting challenge defensively. Jackson’s Jason Todd, who is averaging 31 points a game this season, and Dan Kingsma, a talented point guard, gave Wenatchee its toughest challenge this season.
“This weekend by far was the best two games we’ve played all year, and against quality opponents,” Stone said.
Lakeside 48, Wenatchee 47 (Friday)
Three times isn’t always a charm. The Wenatchee boys basketball squad got three good looks near the end of regulation, but none hit pay dirt, and the Panthers lost in a Wenatchee Tournament contest.
Early, Stone’s team looked like it was in trouble. The Lions attacked Wenatchee with a full-court press that kept the home team from finding a rhythm. By halftime, Wenatchee had 11 turnovers and trailed 32-22.
Seemingly out of the blue, though, the backcourt came to life and Wenatchee outscored the Lions 19-6 in the third quarter.
“When we were more aggressive, we opened up holes, drew double teams, opened up holes for our big guys to run down the floor and get fast break opportunities,” point guard Brock Kuntz said.
The Panthers spent the fourth quarter working to seize the lead.
Trailing by one point, Wenatchee had time to run a play and find an open shot. Everything fell into place, but the shot didn’t go. The Panthers got two more quick possessions, but were unable to convert either opportunity into points.
South Kitsap 59, Wenatchee 54 (Saturday)
Wenatchee had two bursts of brilliance separated by a long defensive lull and bad fortune Saturday at the Wenatchee Tournament.
Unfortunately, the periods of productive play weren’t quite enough to carry the load. The Panthers (2-7 overall, 1-3 Big Nine) came out with an abundance of energy and put up 20 points in the first quarter to take an early lead. They shot 87 percent and played solid defense during that stint. Sophomore post Amira Chandler scored nine points in that time.
“We went into the post early in the game and Katie (Kansky) hit a couple shots outside, and that’s why were able to get the points we did,” coach Robin Kansky said. “Everything was clicking then.”
In the second and third quarters combined, though, Wenatchee was outscored 37-18 due to defensive breakdowns and an elongated offensive slump.
Lakeside 49, Wenatchee 44 (Friday)
Wenatchee dropped another close contest in a Wenatchee Tournament matchup against Liberty. The Panthers hung around from start to finish, but were unable to get the final surge to capture a victory.
Amira Chandler and Katie Kansky scored 11 points apiece, and freshman Maddi Hallberg added eight points.
“We had lots of opportunities,” coach Robin Kansky said. “They’re still playing like they’re still young. They just have to hurry up and grow up so we can get better.”