The South Iron Panthers Girls Varsity Basketball team got the season started off right under new Head Coach Jimbo Blackwell. They earned wins over Salem and Lincoln College Prep before falling to Olathe North. The final two games were played in Columbia for a shootout at the Sophie Cunningham Classic.
The first game against Salem went swimmingly from the jump and the Panthers breezed past a now 0-3 Tigers team with a 74-43 victory. South Iron had to start the season on the road, but it didn’t matter much as they made short work of a Class 4 opponent.
Still yet to play a home game, the Panthers traveled to Columbia, MO for the Sophie Cunningham Classic and made waves in their first challenge against Lincoln College Prep, a Class 5 school out of Overland Park, Kansas.
South Iron busted the front door wide open in this one with a huge 28-point fist quarter, courtesy of Enzley Dinkins‘ 15-point effort, and she was off to a monster night. Fifteen more points by the Lady Panthers in the second set them up with a 43-34 advantage going into the half, but the Blue Tigers were closing in.
They outscored the Panthers 17-13 in the third, and were making a game of it with just eight minutes to go, but the girls of South Iron turned on the jets in the fourth and slammed the door. They dropped a 20-burger on Lincoln and shut the game down at 76-58.
It was a huge win against a large school in a big arena, and the girls were really on their game in this one. Dinkins went nuts with 30 points, but nipping at her heels was Madison Ayers with 21. Anna Parker was the only other player in double digits with her 11 tallies.
That was Friday. Saturday brought a whole new challenge, as the girls had to take on a team from one of the largest schools in Kansas. Olathe North has over 2,000 students, so their talent pool is a significantly larger “fishing spot” than the tiny town of Annapolis, MO.
That reservoir of talent showed in the final game of the weekend, as the Panthers would drop their first game of the season 65-54.
South Iron started slow in the first with just six points and they allowed 20. They bounced back in the second with 12, helped by Dinkins’ seven points in the half, but still found themselves trailing 32-18.
Then they began to turn it on in the third after a big three from Allecia Cornell, and six more points from Dinkins, but Olathe was able to generate 12 points to combat the Panthers and make the score 44-28 with just eight minutes left to play.
That set the stage for the fourth though, which was nuts. South Iron finally broke loose and put up 26 with contributions across the board, but Olathe was able to respond with 21 of their own. They eventually were able to squeeze the door shut with the Panthers pressuring, and won the game 65-54.
It was a tight affair, after a troublesome first half, but the Panthers showed they can hang with pretty much anyone. Dinkins led the way again with 19 points and Ayers backed her up nicely with 13. Cornell had 11 and Parker chipped in with eight.
All in all it was a great week for the Lady Panthers and they will look to keep the line moving this week with a big game at Ellington on Tuesday.