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Putnam County’s Stephanie Wilson (right) drives past Midland’s Kaylee Miller during the Lady Panthers’ 68-21 victory Wednesday in a Class 1A Roanoke-Benson Regional semifinal. NewsTribune photo/Scott Anderson
ROANOKE — Over the last three weeks, the Putnam County girls basketball team has faced some tough competition.
So tough, in fact, that the Lady Panthers ended the regular season on a four-game losing streak.
However, the stiff competition pushed Putnam County to improve, and the No. 1-seeded Lady Panthers demonstrated the benefits of the grueling stretch Wednesday as they rolled to a 68-21 victory over No. 4 Midland in a Class 1A Roanoke-Benson Regional semifinal.
“I think it’s a testament to some of the games we had because we’ve had to work our tails off these last few games and we came up short, so now when we work our tails off in a game like this, we get to come out on the easy end of it,” PC coach James Barnett said.
The Lady Pathers (20-5) advance to the regional title game at 7 tonight against a familiar foe — host Roanoke-Benson/Lowpoint-Washburn, the No. 3 seed which upset No. 2 Flanagan-Cornell/Woodland 51-39 in Wednesday’s second semifinal.
Putnam County has beaten R-B/L-W three times this season.
“We’ve had our fair share of run-ins with Roanoke,” Barnett said about the fellow Tri-County Conference school. “We’ve played them six times over the last two years, so there’s not going to be many surprises between the two of us — probably just some minor Xs and Os.
“Really, it’s going to come down to pre-game and going out and executing and doing what we’re capable of doing.”
The Lady Panthers also faced a familiar foe Wednesday in the Lady Timberwolves — another Tri-County team — and PC jumped to an early lead.
After PC opened the game with a turnover, Daniela Pavlovich stole the ball back and passed to Megan Rehn for a fast-break layup.
The Lady Panthers forced another turnover, and Pavlovich pushed up court and made a layup while being fouled before completing the three-point play.
Carly Gonet drained a 3-pointer on PC’s next possession and hit another at the 4:16 mark for an 11-0 lead.
Allison Voss scored on an assist from Lydia Warren to make it 13-0 before Midland finally got on the board with a pair of free throws with 3:05 left in the first.
“I think we pushed the ball and hustled up the floor well,” Gonet said about the opening surge. “Our press at the beginning got to them. Even when we went to our zone, it still got in their heads.
“We worked on our press a lot (Tuesday). When we do our press against teams, they kind of hurry and rush the ball and we can get more steals that way.”
The Lady Panthers built a 30-2 lead before Midland made its first field goal with 4:36 left in the first half.
PC led 38-6 at halftime and led by as many as 46 points in the second half.
The Lady Panthers held Midland to 4-of-40 shooting and forced 27 turnovers.
“We just moved our feet well tonight,” Barnett said. “We didn’t allow anybody to get good dribble penetration. We kept everything in front. We kept our hands out so we weren’t reaching and getting in foul trouble. We were limiting them to long jump shots or bad passes and turnovers, and we weren’t allowing them to get the ball into a comfortable area on the floor.”
Allison Voss scored a game-high 15 points to go with four rebounds, a block and an assist, Pavlovich finished with 12 points, four steals and three assists and Gonet added nine points, six rebounds, a block and an assist.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.
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