Panama ends Pine Valley’s season
JAMESTOWN — Jeff Angeletti was rather unimpressed by his team’s second quarter Thursday night.
Panama’s other three quarters were pretty good, though.
The New York State Sportswriters Association’s No. 3 team and Section VI top seed led 37-20 at halftime and breezed in the second half en route to a 70-38 victory over No. 5 Pine Valley in a Section VI Class D semifinal at Jamestown Community College’s Physical Education Complex.
The win sets up a Saturday afternoon showdown against No. 2 Franklinville, the state’s top-ranked team, which beat No. 4 Sherman, 78-45, in Thursday’s first semifinal. It will mark the third straight year the teams have met in the final — with Panama winning, 70-44 and 79-68, in the previous two meetings en route to state Final Four appearances.
“Franklinville is a special team. They have (Ally and Dani) Haskell, (Abby) McCoy … they all can shoot, even Bri Broadwell, the transfer from Allegany-Limestone,” Panama coach Jeff Angeletti said. “We have to play great defense and own the boards. At times watching the Sherman game, I saw them frustrate Franklinville on the one-and-dones.”
“I told the girls that it kind of stinks in our section because Saturday may be the state championship game,” Pine Valley coach David Pihlblad said. “I could see whoever wins that winning the whole state.”
Sophomore Natalie Angeletti led four Panama players in double figures Thursday night with 19 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Junior Abi Lisciandro added 16 points, six steals and six assists; sophomore Kylie Schnars had 13 points and eight rebounds; and senior Lauren Barmore added 7 points and four assists.
“We just played a really good team,” Pihlblad said. ” … I thought we played hard and did some good things, but Panama is big and a team that has played together for a long time.”
In her last game for Pine Valley, senior Kayla Hohl led all scorers with 26 points, including six 3-pointers.
“She’s an unbelievable player and we saw that on the film,” Angeletti said. ” … She’s got a motor that never shuts down and she can hit the deep ball. … We had girls in her face and she was drilling them.”
A 17-0 run that started very early in the first quarter helped Panama take control. Junior Karianne Yuchnitz hit a 3-pointer and Natalie Angeletti scored 7 points during the spurt, which featured eight Pine Valley turnovers.
“You saw how athletic she is. She’ll follow her shot and get rebounds, she’ll keep the ball alive,” Jeff Angeletti said of Yuchnitz. “Not only can she make that shot, but if she’s not going to get boxed out, nine times out of 10 the kid can get to the ball and put it back up. A couple times she even got to the foul line because of following her own shot.”
Hohl made her first basket with 1:54 left in the quarter to stop the run and followed with her first 3-pointer, but Panama led 25-7 after eight minutes.
“She’s phenomenal. She battled through injuries this whole year. Tonight she was playing against a phenomenal team and they were trying to shut her down. She still was scoring and creating stuff,” Pihlblad said. “She’s going to be tough to replace next year. She’s the heart and soul of this team. I’m glad she was able to display her talents in front of a big crowd at JCC.”
Pine Valley got things under control in the second quarter, actually outscoring Panama, 13-12, but the early hole proved to be too much to overcome as the defending sectional champions took a 37-20 lead into halftime on the backs of Angeletti’s 13 points and Schnars’ eight.
“Pine Valley is known for their pressure and their 1-2-2. We even got them out of it a little bit where they retreated,” Angeletti said. “Lauren didn’t have her first turnover until the third quarter.”
Panama rattled off the first 10 points of the third quarter before junior Katelyn Miller scored for Pine Valley with 3:48 remaining. Hohl hit back-to-back 3-pointers later in the period, but nine second-chance points by Panama helped extend its lead to 26 entering the final eight minutes.
“They make it tough. They press you the whole time and they go deep too,” Pihlblad said. “Their big girls are their big scorers, but their guards create everything.”
Hohl scored eight of Pine Valley’s nine fourth-quarter points, but Lisciandro answered with eight of her own, including a 3-pointer, for Panama, which will seek its fourth straight sectional crown Saturday at noon back at Jamestown CC.
“What the Haskells are most deadly on are the 2-pointers when they dribble and penetrate,” Angeletti said. “The key to that game is to make sure every shot is contested and to not allow them to dribble-penetrate. If we can do that, I like our chances with our size inside.”
NOTES: Yuchnitz had 10 points for Panama, which shot 27 of 62 from the field, including 6 of 14 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 14 times. … Kahlen Green had six points and Kaylee Crisanti had five steals for Pine Valley, which shot 13 of 50 from the field, including 7 of 25 from 3-point range, and turned the ball over 22 times.