By Randy Arrington
SHENANDOAH, Jan. 24 — For a team that graduated six players from a year ago and only has one senior on this year’s roster, the Page County Panthers play like a seasoned, cohesive group that spreads the ball around to keep defenses off balance.
“We’re young,” PCHS head coach E.J. Wyant said, “but we still have high expectations.”
The Panthers spread out 59 points among eight different players in a 59-42 Bull Run District win over visiting Madison County. Senior guard Abby Nauman led Page with 13 points; followed by sophomore Caris Lucas with 10.
Both teams came into the game with nearly even records, but Page led 40-20 at halftime and increased that margin to 25 at one point in the second half.
The Panthers started the night on fire, shooting nearly 80 percent from the floor in the first quarter compared to Madison’s 20 percent. After the first eight minutes, Page led 23-12.
“We were due a quarter like that,” Coach Wyant said. “We lost by three [points] when we went over there [to Madison], and we talked about how bad we played [in that game]. [Madison] shot 30 free throws in that game.”
On the evening for Madison (10-7, 5-4), the Mountaineers were led by sophomore guard Dy’Ehisa Tyler with 10 points, while sophomore Lindsay McDaniel and senior Abigail Tanner posted seven apiece.
The win was especially sweet for Page after a tough 70-55 road loss to cross-county rival Luray on Tuesday night. The Panthers were led in that game by sophomore Leah Hilliard with 20 points, while Lucas posted 15. The Bulldogs were led by sophomore standout Emillee Weakley who posted 24 points, while junior Bynlee Burrill added 21 and freshman Jaidyn McClung had 13.
With the Madison win, Page (10-6, 5-4) remains locked up with the Mountaineers for third place in the Bull Run District after both teams split their games over the past week. Page is ranked fifth in Region 2B.
“If we play to our potential, we feel like we can compete with anybody in the region,” Coach Wyant said after the Madison win. “Hopefully we will peak at the right time.”