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Lady Panthers show fight, snap losing streak

Naomi Dalton and the rest of the Pinnacle High Lady Panthers try to convince the referee that Dalton's half court shot to end the first quarter should be counted. The referee called Dalton for traveling on the play, negating the made shot.

Sun Advocate sports reporter

After battling injuries, tough losses and some general bad luck over the season, the Pinnacle High Lady Panthers were looking to reverse their fortune.

They clamped down on defense, made open jump shots and overcame a few instances of bad luck in their 46-42 win over Grand High on Tuesday night at the PHS gymnasium.

The Lady Panthers and Grand traded baskets in the first quarter as both teams spent the quarter trying to establish their rhythm offensively. With the seconds counting down to end the quarter, Pinnacle's do-everything point guard Naomi Dalton took an inbounds pass and ran to the half court line before throwing up a shot as the buzzer went off. The shot went in, setting off a loud reaction from the crowd on hand and Dalton's teammates. Unfortunately for the Lady Panthers, the officials called traveling on Dalton, negating the shot.

The Lady Panthers quickly came out in the second quarter keeping with Grand heading into halftime tied at 24-24.

In the third quarter, the Lady Panthers began to create some separation between them and Grand. They were helped by Jordan Hamner, who hit back-to-back three pointers to break a tie and give the Lady Panthers one of their largest lead of the game 33-27 with 2:30 left in the third quarter.

As they headed into the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers continued to build upon their lead almost putting the game out of reach. But Grand would not go down quietly. Down nine with two minutes left, they began a run that cut Pinnacle's lead down to five.

The Lady Panthers countered by making their free throws down the stretch as Dalton made two free throws with 18 seconds left to help get the 46-42 win in a game that was rescheduled from earlier this season.

Dalton led the team with 16 points. Hamner added 14 points, including four three pointers. Ashia Andrews had seven points and a number of key rebounds.

Pinnacle head coach Michael Shaffer said the girls have battled through a lot this season including injuries.

"This was a good opportunity for the girls to get a win and they did that tonight," Shaffer said after the game. "At times we didn't move the ball around too well, but in the end we did enough to get the win."

Dalton, a senior, said the team works on being aggressive on defense to help slow the opposing team down.

With just one game left on the schedule at home against Monticello on Feb. 9, Dalton said the team wants to go out with a win.

"We want to go out with a bang in our final game," she said.

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