Masuk girls basketball ended their home opener Friday night with a tough 34 – 33 loss against Brookfield.
The Panthers held the high ground in the first quarter, starting at tip-off. They swiftly achieved their first score, courtesy of junior Natalie Lieto. For much of the remaining time, there was a major defensive battle for both sides, eventually ending with a score and immediate layup by freshman Bailey Bajda. Quickly after, senior Maia Ventresca picked up the ball, scoring a three pointer that ended the quarter with Masuk ahead 9 – 2.
The second quarter was also successful for the Panthers. It saw baskets by freshman Grace Kearney (two), sophomore Sami Dube and two points by junior Hannah Fagan as a result of a Bobcats foul. The first half of the game ended closely at 17-16, still in favor of Masuk.
After a brief half time, the second half saw a valiant effort from the Masuk girls. Another layup from Bajda, a score from Kearney and a free throw by Fagan. However, the Panthers began to fall behind, closing the quarter with Bobcats taking the lead 27 – 22.
The fourth quarter saw a huge battle back and forth between the teams. Continuing from the third, the Panthers came back with a big run after being down 6 points, bumping them ahead again, 29 – 28. From here, the fight was long and tiresome, filled with free throws bouncing the score to one team, then the other. Masuk free throws were taken by Fagan, Kearney and Bajda (two). With eight seconds left on the clock, Bajda scored a two pointer, tying the game 33 – 33. Unfortunately, the Bobcats took a one point lead in a final free throw, ending the game with 34 – 33, Panthers just behind.
Overall, the Panthers top scorers of the game were Bajda with 13 points, Kearney with 9 points and Fagan with 6 points.
“[The team] had some ups and downs, you know,” said Masuk coach, Dan Young. “There are some things that we know we can improve on, and I can improve on, and go from there.”
Despite the disappointment of losing such an exciting game, the girls have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with this season. They have another home game tonight against Shelton at a 1 – 1 record with the intention of domination in the Panther pride-land.