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GRANVILLE — It took 30 minutes, 46 seconds, but the Putnam County girls basketball team finally put away Roanoke-Benson/Lowpoint-Washburn.
The Lady Panthers closed the game on a 7-0 run in the final 1:14 to top the Lady Rockets 39-31 in a Tri-County Conference game Thursday in Granville.
“I think our defense really stepped up a lot and we made a couple big free throws and big shots,” PC junior Carly Gonet said. “We had a couple steals. I think that won it for us in the end.”
R-B/L-W cut PC’s lead to one at 32-31 with 2:11 left on a fast-break layup by Eva Rossman.
After the teams traded two scoreless possessions each, Daniela Pavlovich hit a pair of free throws with 1:14 to go.
PC then forced a turnover off its press, and Gonet knocked down a pair of free throws for a five-point lead.
Gonet extended PC’s lead to seven points when the Lady Panthers pushed the ball off an Ashley Zupec defensive rebound.
Zupec capped the scoring by hitting 1-of-2 free throws after grabbing another defensive rebound.
“We created points off turnovers there at the end,” PC coach James Barnett said. “We had a chance to spread it to five points with three minutes to go, but (Olivia Rossman) came down and made a nice block on us and they went down and got a layup to make it a one-point game.
“They had the timeout (with 2:10 left), and we came out of the timeout and got a couple turnovers. The turnovers created our offense there at the end. It was really big. We moved our feet, got in front of them and helped them make the mistakes instead of just trying to go for the ball.”
The Lady Panthers used a strong defensive effort to jump on the Lady Rockets early, forcing nine turnovers and taking a 13-4 lead after the first quarter.
However, PC got into some foul trouble in the second quarter and R-B/L-W rallied to tie the game by halftime.
PC opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run, but again the Lady Rockets rallied and the Lady Panthers — who forced 25 turnovers in the game — went into the fourth quarter holding a 26-25 advantage.
“Overall, I thought the girls played very well tonight,” Barnett said. “We played hard. We got in foul trouble early, then we responded to that. We moved our feet better as the game went on. I think ultimately, what won us the game in the fourth is we locked down on defense. We didn’t allow them to get the easy baskets they had gotten that kept them close the entire game.”
Gonet led PC with 11 points, Pavlovich and Stephanie Wilson each scored nine points and Zupec added eight points and seven rebounds.
The win improves the Lady Panthers to 8-2 and 3-0 in the conference.
“We want to be competitive (in the conference) because we know we haven’t been the past couple years, so this year is going to be different for us, I think,” Gonet said. “We’ve just been really motivated and focused for the conference games. We know that they’re big games so we want to win them.”
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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