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Gowanda girls participate in NCCC Shootout

Gowanda girls basketball coach Frank John talks things over with his team during the Panthers’ first game, which was against Wilson. Photo by Tom Gallagher.
It wasn’t the outcome the Gowanda Lady Panthers were hoping for in its first offseason workouts on the basketball court.

Two double-digit losses in the NCCC Shootout Tournament on Saturday was the outcome of Gowanda’s first test of competition. The Lady Panthers lost fell to Wilson by the score of 40-18 and dropped its second game to tough Williamsville South 56-20.

Coming in with just six players, Gowanda’s mistakes on offense and lack of defense led to both losses for the young club.

“We haven’t ran much all summer you can tell that for sure,” coach Frank John said. “From what I saw we just need to tune up and get some things figured out.”

In game one against Wilson, the Panthers looked rusty right from the start. Wilson jumped out to a double-digit lead on them early and Gowanda had no response with the shortened bench.

Gowanda had trouble controlling Wilson’s tough inside game as the Panthers were being outrebounded greatly throughout the game. John said the strategy coming in was to play a 2-3 zone on the squad, but it just seemed like the team wasn’t in good playing condition just yet.

“I see a lot of potential in the squad, but a lot of it is just them being out of shape really,” John said. “We weren’t trying to force passes from Wilson. It’s the little things.”

The Panthers looked better tuned in the second game against Williamsville South. Led by sophomore point guard Raenn White, Gowanda put up a fight in the first half, but fell apart in the second half.

The sophomore was carried off early in the second half against Wilson in the first matchup, but took over in the second game. White look as if she just twisted her leg after she went down grabbing her leg.

Gowanda kept it to a close matchup closing in on the first half, but Gowanda couldn’t overcome a 16-0 run that started the second half.

Making open shots was the major problem against Williamsville South. White gave key passes after Williamsville started double teaming the point guard, but her teammates couldn’t get anything to fall.

“The open shots weren’t just the same open shots,” John said. “They were actually working the zone and getting better looking shots than last year. They just need to fall.”

Although Gowanda dropped both games, John sees an improvement from last years squad. With no seniors, John says he’s happy with the way his team looks thus far.

“I see a lot of potential,” John said. “ It didn’t look like much, but I can tell the way they were thinking. It comes to man-to-man. These girls just need to body up and seal a little bit more, but I like where we are at going into the season.”
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