THOMAS — It took a while longer than expected but in the end, the Rich Dunn era of Snake River Lady Panther basketball got off to a successful start as the Lady Panthers opened their season with a 46-37 victory over Sugar-Salem on Thursday evening.
The start of the game was delayed by an hour and fifteen minutes due to the freshman and junior varsity games running long. In fact, the junior varsity game had to go into overtime before it was decided by a game winning basket by Kara Polatis with a second to go.
Once the varsity game got started the crowd was more than warmed up after the thrilling finish in the game previous but that subsided as the varsity teams engaged in a defensive struggle that witnessed just 6 points scored between both clubs in the first quarter.
"I think what you saw tonight was a team playing their first game of the season against a team that was playing their third game," Snake River head coach Rich Dunn said. "We just kept telling the girls that the offense would get crisper the more we worked on the defensive end."
Second quarter action heated up however. After Sugar-Salem scored the stanza's opening 6 points, Snake River called a time out to readjust their way of thinking. The time out proved effective as the Lady Panthers responded with a 10-0 run, keyed by a pair of baskets by new comer Madison Pilster, giving Snake River a lead that they never relinquished at 12-10.
Snake River eventually outscored the Lady Diggers 19-10 in the second quarter as the Ladies in Purple went to the locker room with a 21-14 lead.
"We were able to get a couple of quick, easy baskets and then you could just see the jitters and some of the rust just slip away," Coach Dunn said.
Snake River eventually pushed the lead out to as many as 12-points as a trio of Lady Panthers cracked double-digit scoring in the book with Pilster and Macy Martin each tallying 13-points and Shayla Christensen adding 12 in the winning effort.
"I am just real happy with the effort from every player wearing the purple and white jersey tonight," Coach Dunn said. "Everyone who went into the game gave a really solid performance and everyone contributed. I was especially happy with the defensive end because no matter who went onto the floor to play, the intensity and execution never faltered."
Snake River (1-0) will be back in action next Tuesday when they travel to South Fremont for their first road test of the season. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 P.M.
Sugar-Salem 4 10 9 14 - 37
Snake River 2 19 14 11 - 46
Sugar-Salem; McCall Miller 10, Georgia Brown 13, Sierra Spratling 7, Aubrey Huntsman 2, Jessie Harris 4, Heidi Rudd 1
Snake River - Shayla Christensen 12, Madison Pilster 13, Macy Martin 13, Scout Baldwin 2, Cassie Albertson 2, Brylie Bair 4