Whether they were in Washougal or Longview, the Panther boys and girls basketball teams got the best of the Lumberjacks and Jills Friday.
The Washougal and R.A. Long boys traded baskets in a nail biter, but the Panthers held on for a 52-50 victory at Washougal High School. All nine Panthers contributed points, which made head coach Malcolm Estes smile.
“So many kids are stepping up every time their number is called,” he said. “All these kids care about is winning. Whatever it takes for us to win a game, I can count on these kids to do it.”
R.A. Long rallied within one point on a 3-pointer in the game’s final minute. After making a foul shot to put the Panthers back up by two, Patrick McCarthy got a hand on the final shot by the Lumberjacks. Kyle Anderson tipped the ball away from R.A. Long, McCarthy snatched the rebound and Washougal ran out the clock.
“The crowd really got behind us. They knew every single play counted,” McCarthy said. “Every time they would make a run, we would buckle down on defense and that translated to our offense. We just kept scoring and tried to keep them from scoring.”
Down by four points after the first quarter, the Panthers surged ahead on a 16-7 second quarter. Michael McElroy racked up seven points, Isaac Bischoff added four points and McCarthy beat a buzzer with a three from the top of the key to give Washougal a 21-16 advantage at halftime.
“I gave [McElroy] a screen, and he gave me the ball with about two seconds left. I just turned around and put it up. It was a great feeling for me and the team going into the locker room at halftime,” McCarthy said. “I have a history of hitting random shots like that. I’m usually trying to get other people open, so when I hit shots like that it’s extra special for me.”
McElroy led Washougal with 11 points. Eight Panthers stand over 6 feet. McElory is the smallest at 5-foot-3, but the sophomore makes up for it with speed and tenacity.
“It’s fun. A lot different than freshman year,” McElroy. “I love playing at home. It’s loud.”
Standing 6-foot-6, Bischoff is one of the tallest Panthers. He loves rebounding the basketball, taking it to the hole or kicking it out to the sharp shooters on the wings.
“I’m always having fun when I’m playing basketball,” Bischoff said. “I enjoy playing with everyone on this team.”
WHS girls get back in the win column
The Washougal girls did not shy away from the 3-pointer Friday, in Longview. The Panthers delivered eight from long range, including four in the fourth quarter, to defeat the Lumberjills 49-39.
Kendall Utter hit one of those threes, and finished with a team-leading 20 points in the game. Darcy Akers added 16 points, six assists and two 3-pointers down the stretch. Maddie Down chipped in eight points, Sarah Brown scored three points and Chandler Audette had two points.