The Lady Panthers (8-3) pounced on Sutherland (2-8) early and coasted to a 58-28 win Tuesday at the Hershey High School gymnasium.
With the score tied 2-2, Raychel Banks launched a long shot from outside the arc that dropped through the net, giving Hershey a lead that they would not surrender.
They stayed hot from the outside as both Tyra Otzel and Shayda Vaughn hit three pointers in the first period and Delaney Love hit another at the buzzer to give the Panthers a 20-8 lead.
Period two was more of the same as Hershey continued to control the game. A three pointer by Ashlyn Banks along with Otzel’s second trey of the night kept the Panther offense on track while their pressing defense stymied the Lady Sailor’s offense and they led 32-16 at the half.
If Sutherland had any hopes of making a second half comeback, the Panthers put that to rest in period three, outscoring the Sailors 16-2, including Vaughn’s second trey of the night.
With the outcome well in hand, Hershey Head Coach Michael Jorgenson substituted freely throughout the final period.
Erica Hopping was the lone bright spot for the Sailors. After scoring two of the Sailors eight points in the opening period, she scored the remaining 22 points including one three-point basket and 13-13 from the free throw line for 24 points. Emma Wareham and Bonnie Naughtin scored two apiece in the opening period to round out Sutherlands scoring.
For Hershey, Channing Holm scored 11 and Otzel hit double digits with 10. Emily Barr had seven, Love and Vaughn each had six, thee Banks twins five, Carlee Brownawell four and Jenna Frels and Emily Smith each scored two. The Panthers ended up with seven treys.
Jorgenson was pleased with how the team played.
“I thought we did a great job of bringing some defensive pressure,” he said. “And we took some open shots, found each other and moved well without the ball putting Sutherland in some tough positions.”
Jorgensen said he likes to be able to rotate players and keep fresh legs on the court. “Definitely that is our goal, to have everybody contribute. That way we can keep fresh pressure on our opponents and if anyone gets in foul trouble it doesn’t affect us as much.”
He praised Hopping for her play. “She did an awesome job for her team.”
On Friday, the Panthers entertain Valentine (3-9) before making a road trip to Holdrege (1-9) Saturday.
Jorgenson said the girls need to be ready to play. “Valentine is a little down this year but they will bring a competitive team. Then we travel to Holdrege and they are a little down as well, but a Class B team that is down can still be pretty tough.”
Score by quarters:
Hershey: 20 -12-16-10 –58
Sutherland: 8 -6 -2 -12 –28