In Thursday night's girls' basketball matchup against the no. 3-ranked 5A team, Central, Molalla came into the game as the clear underdog.
The Indians put up a fight and closed the Panthers' lead to four points with a little less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter after Central led 22-12 at the half, but the Panthers' size and ball handling allowed them to pull away with a 46-30 win.
Both teams struggled a bit in the first half with finding their rhythm and shot selection, but the Panthers' clear size advantage took its toll eventually and earned them a flurry of defensive rebounds and strong play in the key.
Molalla pulled to within four points, 26-22, after trailing by 12 at one point on a clutch three-point shot by freshman Zoe Wood, followed by a short jump shot from junior Mattie Myers and a layup from senior Alicia Schultz in a series of possessions that showed the kind of basketball the Indians are capable of.
But then an eight-point swing on a long two-point shot and a three from Central senior Lexy Barba along with another three from sophomore Meagan Mendazona gave the Panthers a double-digit lead again, all in about a minute and a half of game time.
That lead would stick the rest of the game, as both teams put in their subs halfway through the fourth quarter to finish out the matchup with Central coming out on top 46-30.
Up next, the Indians are again at North Marion High School for their holiday tournament, and will take on 2A Waldport tonight (Friday) at 5 p.m.
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
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