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Rob Potter | Democrat

TRI-VALLEY'S JAKKI PUGH dribbles away from Monticello’s Nyoki Tate after grabbing a rebound during the first quarter of Wednesday night’s non-league basketball game at Monticello Central School. Among the players watching the play are T-V’s Kanacia James, center, and Kelly McNamara, right, and Monticello’s Iris Robinson, left, Ty’nessa Washington (2) and Polly Palhano (43).

Lady Panthers Slip Past Lady Bears

By Rob Potter
MONTICELLO — January 26, 2007 — On Wednesday night, the Monticello Lady Panthers recorded their second victory of the 2006-2007 basketball season.
Monticello took a 9-4 lead in the first quarter of their non-league game against the visiting Tri-Valley Lady Bears. The Lady Panthers never relinquished that lead and expanded their advantage to as many as 13 points on the way to recording a 35-26 victory.
Monticello improved its record to 2-10, while T-V fell to 3-8.
Senior guard Iris Robinson scored the first basket of the night just 15 seconds after tip-off.
Three minutes later, Robinson grabbed an offensive rebound and put the ball back up and in the hoop to push the Lady Panthers’ advantage to 6-2.
Monticello took its first double-digit lead of the evening in the second period. With 5:35 remaining in the stanza, junior center Polly Palhano scored inside to make it a 14-4 game.
However, the Lady Bears roared back over the next four minutes to narrow that margin. At the 1:26 mark, freshman guard Kelly McNamara stole the ball near halfcourt and was fouled while driving to the basket for a layup. McNamara made both of her free throws, pulling T-V to within three points at 16-13.
But Monticello’s Nyoki Tate scored two baskets in the final minute of the frame to give her team a 20-13 advantage at halftime.
With 5:20 left in the third quarter, Tate made a layup to give the Lady Panthers their largest lead of the night at 26-13.
T-V cut the Monti advantage to seven points twice in the final three minutes of the quarter. At the 2:56 mark, Skylar Musa scored under the basket thanks to a good pass from teammate Gretchen Hartman to make it a 26-19 contest. And with 21 seconds left, Jakki Pugh scored in the lane to make it 28-21.
But in the fourth period, the Lady Panthers maintained their poise and a comfortable lead to seal their victory.
Leading Monticello to the win was Palhano, who recorded a double-double of 11 points and 16 rebounds.
Tate and Ty’nessa Washington each netted nine points for the Lady Panthers. Tate also had five rebounds and four steals.
Kanacia James was the Lady Bears’ top scorer with 10 points. Pugh recorded six points, while McNamara and Musa each added four points.
T-V Coach Karen Andrews noted that rebounding was a key factor in the contest.
“We didn’t get many rebounds tonight,” she said. “When we were on offense, they really worked hard and cleared all of the rebounds.
“They are quick and they’re athletic,” Andrews said of the Lady Panthers.
Andrews noted that Monticello’s ability to stop her team’s comeback attempts was just as important to the game’s outcome.
“We were able to get the lead down to seven points a couple of times,” she said. “But when we did, they seemed to get a steal or force a turnover, which allowed them to get an easy basket. They did an outstanding job of blocking our passing lanes.”
Andrews noted that her team is facing a tough portion of its schedule, playing six games in eight days. The Lady Bears are competing in the Billy Moran Tournament at Sullivan West High School tonight and tomorrow night. Next week, T-V has a game on Monday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night.
Monticello Coach Karen Atack was very proud of her players and their performance against the Lady Bears.
“They played their hearts out,” she said.
Because of injuries and other circumstances, there are only six players on the Monticello roster. But that didn’t stop them from hustling the entire evening and recording a victory.
“They are working hard to improve,” Atack said of the Lady Panthers. “They are working on dribbling, passing and teamwork.
“The whole time we have had six players, they haven’t quit,” she added. “They have worked so hard and have learned how to work together.”

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