Evans High School girls basketball coach Tim Whitfield tried his best to prepare his team for Lakeside's half-court pressure before the squads met Tuesday.
But the Panthers were able to use it to their advantage and held off the Knights' late push to win 39-28 in both teams' region opener.
"We practiced pretty much all week against that half-court trap," Whitfield said. "They got out there in the first half and all ran to different spots."
The Knights pulled it together long enough to rally during the fourth quarter. They started the quarter on an 8-2 run that cut the Panthers' lead to seven but didn't get any closer.
Lakeside led by as many as 16 during the game. Coach Maureen McCormack said she was pleased with her team's play, but Evans' rally in the fourth exposed some areas she thought the Panthers could work on.
"We got away from what we teach," McCormack said. "We didn't play disciplined within our team concepts. You give them a window of opportunity and they're going to come right back in, and Evans did."
The run gave Evans reason for optimism. Whitfield said his team is trying to overcome its inexperience. The Knights have a strong senior core, but Whtifield said they haven't played together long enough.
Evans senior Jessica Mitchum said the Knights have been working on moving the ball better in practice, something she saw improving toward the end of the Knights' loss Tuesday.
"We came out more confident, wanting to pass the ball," Mitchum said. "We just need to work on our passing, that's about it."
The Panthers had that down during the first half. They started the game on a 7-0 run and led 24-8 late in the second quarter.
It didn't all carry over to the second half, but McCormack was encouraged.
"We had great ball movement," she said. "Our press defense looked really good earlier in the game. Those were all positives."
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