Pangburn captured its seventh consecutive win on Tuesday night at Tiger Arena, slamming Salem 54-35 behind a game-high 23 points from senior guard Windy Watts, who routinely broke the Lady Greyhounds' press, setting up easy looks at the basket for the Lady Tigers.
“Windy did a good job of keeping her head up, looking ahead and driving when she can,” said Pangburn Coach Christie Rolland. “There were options for us off the drive. After we beat them down the court a few times I saw frustration in their eyes. We just tried to keep with what was working for us.”
Despite early failure, the Lady Greyhounds continued to press while Watts and company continually made them pay.
Watts hit forward Savannah Tharp for a layup as Pangburn took the game's first lead, but Salem countered with a pair of free throws by forward Sidney Mitchum.
Watts then scored seven straight points for the Lady Tigers, including two strong drives, while Salem managed a three-pointer by guard Paige Hollis and free throw from forward Baylei Lamar, leaving Pangburn with a 9-6 advantage after one quarter of play.
Pangburn blew the game wide open by outscoring Salem 12-4 in the second quarter, starting with an 8-0 run, which was sparked by forward Kayla Gray, who drilled a deep three-pointer from right wing.
Following a free throw from post player Savanna Jacobs, Watts sank a pull up jumper from right elbow over two defenders then Gray added a turnaround jumper from right wing, boosting the Lady Tigers' lead to 17-6 with 5:00 left in the first half.
Lamar hit a free throw, briefly stopping Pangburn's run before Watts scored from right block off a high-low assist from post player Morgan Gregg.
Tharp added a stick back over two defenders as Pangburn's lead grew to 21-7, but Salem closed the period with three straight from Lamar, whose short jumper in the lane cut the Lady Tigers' lead to 21-10 at halftime.
Pangburn outscored Salem 19-13 in the third quarter, including a crushing 16-4 run in the first six minutes as Watts found Tharp cutting down the lane for a layup, then Tharp sank a pull up jumper from left elbow and Gray scored in transition off an assist from guard Kristen Kerby.
The Lady Greyhounds responded with a reverse layup from Mitchum before Pangburn scored six unanswered on two quick baskets from Watts and a bucket from right block by Gregg off an assist from Gray.
Hollis fired back with a 17-foot jumper from right wing, but Watts slashed right side for a layup and Pangburn reserve forward Lyndlee Engle scored from left block off an assist from Kerby, completing Pangburn's 16-4 run.
With the Lady Tigers holding a commanding 37-14 lead, Salem scored seven straight, capped by a three-pointer up top launched by Hollis, but Gray countered with a fall away bank shot, plus a foul.
Page 2 of 2 - After Gray completed the old-fashioned three-point play, Lamar flipped an offensive rebound into a pair of free throws, trimming the Lady Tigers' lead to 40-23 entering the final stanza.
Pangburn opened the fourth quarter with a 10-3 run, sparked by consecutive rebound baskets by Gray and Jacobs.
Hollis retaliated with a deep three-pointer from right wing before the Lady Tigers scored six straight, including four from Watts.
Tharp added four points in the final period, closing the game with a driving layup, which set the final at 54-35.
The Lady Tigers (20-7, 10-4), who beat Sloan-Hendrix 57-35 on Monday to wrap up the third seed at the district tournament, defeated each team in their league while piling up seven straight wins, including victories over first-place Cedar Ridge and Salem, which enters postseason play as the No. 2 seed.
With the exception of a close win over Cedar Ridge, Pangburn has dominated each 2-2A opponent at least once, giving the Lady Tigers a boost of confidence heading into the postseason, which starts with the 2-2A District Tourament in Pangburn. “I think we have stepped up on defense,” said Rolland. “There have been games where we have shot the ball really well, but consistently our defense has been there night in and night out.
“Lately it's almost like we have been on a mission. We have a purpose of playing and we have a lot of seniors and they know it's coming to an end. Earlier in the season we were figuring out our team and we didn't have the little details down. They are now finding confidence while playing with each other more and more. They have one goal and they talk about it every day. That is to keep the season going as long as we can,” added Rolland.
Hollis led Salem with 11 points and Lamar finished with 10.
Following Watts' game-high 23 points, Gray and Tharp each scored 12.
In Monday's win over Sloan-Hendrix, Watts led Pangburn with 16 points, Gray followed with 12 points and Gregg tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds.