The Prairie Home girls basketball team may have been a little shell-shocked after the first half while trailing the Higbee Tigers by 10 at 26-16.
While the Lady Panthers had plenty of chances against Higbee in the first-two periods, they also knew that if they were going to rally back in the second half they would need to shoot better at the foul line and hit those close range shots that they sorely missed in the first half.
As it turned out, the Lady Panthers made good on 10 of 15 shots from the foul line in the second half but more importantly got strong play from senior Kendra Stinson and freshman Makayla Zey, who combined for 24 of the team's 34 points for a 50-46 victory.
As for the Prairie Home boys, they had a little easier game while leading a young Higbee squad from start to finish to win by a score of 58-30.
While the win improved the Lady Panthers record to 6-9 overall, head coach Linda Scott said the girls worked as a team to win this game.
"I am so proud of these young ladies for keeping their cool and fighting back to win the game," Scott said. "I thought Kendra really took over the game in the third quarter for us. She went 5 for 5 in the third period with three steals and one assist. She also played well on the defensive end and forced a lot of turnovers.
"I hope this game is the beginning of something very special for Kendra for the rest of the season. I also thought the Small sisters had a solid game as well. Krista had a good night on the boards with nine plus and scored the final-two points to put the game away. Alli, meanwhile, had a good game off the bench and was able to score on a good move in the third quarter. Of course Makayla was her usual self with 15 points, 16 rebounds and seven steals. Makayla, Alli and Krista also played hard inside. Because the game was so physical inside I credit them and our team for not fouling out."
Unlike Higbee, who had four players foul out of the game and finish with only three players on the floor.
Nonetheless, the Lady Tigers had Prairie Home on the ropes early while leading 12-8 after first period's end. Of course it didn't help that the Lady Panthers hit on only 2 of 13 shots in the first quarter or that Higbee reeled off eight straight points during a two-minute stretch to go up 12-7.
Although the Lady Tigers led by four after one, they also struggled to hold on to the ball while closing out the first half with 18 turnovers. That alone kept Prairie Home in the ballgame while cutting the lead to two at 18-16 after a basket by sophomore Brooke Emmerich with 2:34 left.
Page 2 of 3 - What happened next is anybodys guess as Higbee came back and reeled off eight straight points to lead at the break by a score of 26-16.
The Lady Tigers also found the foul line in the second quarter while hitting on 10 of 14 shots compared to just 2 of 11 for Prairie Home.
Higbee also made good on 12 of 16 shots from the line in the first half while the Lady Panthers struggled to say the least while connecting on only 5 of 15 shots.
Needless to say the game changed somewhat in the third quarter as Prairie Home began to make those close range shots. While outscoring Higbee 22-13 in the third period, the Lady Panthers also cut the lead down to one at 39-38 after a basket by senior Kendra Stinson with 8.5 seconds left.
Stinson also came up big for Prairie Home in the third with 10 of the team's 22 points.
Meanwhile, in the fourth quarter, Prairie Home and Higbee battled back and forth while playing to three ties at 40-40, 42-42 and 44-44. Then, with Higbee's best player fouling out of the ballgame at the 3:20 mark, Prairie Home came back and outscored the Lady Tigers 6-2 for the rest of the game to garner the victory.
The foul line also made a difference for the Lady Panthers in the second half, as they were 10 of 15 while Higbee hit on 8 of 12 shots.
As for the scoring in the game, Stinson finished the game with a double-double with 19 points and 10 steals along with six assists and four rebounds. Makayla Zey also had a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds along with seven steals and one assist. Krista Small added five points, nine rebounds and three steals while Katlynn Watson chipped in five points, six assists, four steals and one rebound, Brooke Emmerich with four points, two rebounds and two steals, Ally Small with two points, five rebounds and one steal and Amber Carmichael and Kim Hettinger each with one rebound and one assist.
The Lady Panthers also finished the game hitting 17 of 64 shots from the field for 26.5 percent and 15 of 32 from the foul line for 46.8 percent.
For Higbee, Hope Clark had 12, Alexandria Forrester nine, Marissa Perkins six, Ashley Berendzen with four, Courtney Sinclair with two and M'kenzea Starks with one.
As for the Prairie Home boys, they had little trouble against Higbee while leading 21-8 after first period's end, which included a 8-0 during a two-minute stretch at the 4:36 mark and a 7-2 run over the final two minutes and 21 seconds.
The Panthers also dominated the second period while reeling off seven straight during a two-minute stretch to extend the lead to 18 at 28-10 with 3:07 left.
Prairie Home also outscored Higbee 11-4 in the second to lead by 20 (32-12) at the break.
Page 3 of 3 - Of course the second half was a carbon copy of the first-two periods as Prairie Home outscored the Tigers 16-6 in the third to extend the lead to 30 at 48-18. The Panthers also went on runs of 11 and five points during two stretches in the third period.
Meanwhile, with a running clock to start the fourth quarter, head coach Jesse Oswald also substituted freely for the final eight minutes of the ballgame. But even then the Tigers outscored Prairie Home by only two, 12-10.
Prairie Home coach Jesse Oswald said he thought the team played excellent team ball and got a lot of guys involved.
"We had eight of our 10 guys score," Oswald said. "Defensively we really picked up the pressure tonight and aside from a couple of late buckets, we really did a great job of protecting the paint and keeping their offensive players out of it which is something we have been practicing a lot of. It was a great win and got us back over the .500 mark which is something we have been striving to get to."
Senior Trever Huth led a balanced scoring attack for Prairie Home, who improved to 8-7 on the season, with 22 points. Rayce Kendrick, Sam Distler and Klay Holliday each had eight points while Jonathan Brandes added six and Ben Stock, Chance Whitehurse and Kody Utterback each with two.
For Higbee, who dropped to 4-9 on the season, Austin Nelson had 10 while Jacob Beal and Jeremy Kirkendall chipped in six points each.