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Panama girls capture third straight title in Class D

JAMESTOWN — The Panama girls basketball team runs an extra drill at the end of every practice. Players sprint the length of the court and make layups. They call it
“OT’s.”

So when the Panthers found themselves tied with Franklinville at the end of regulation in the Class D title game Saturday at Jamestown Community College, they knew they could handle the extra four-minute quarter.

“As soon as we went into overtime, I said, ‘Girls, this is OT’s. It’s just like that.’ And they all perked right up,” said Panama coach Jeff Angeletti.

The team’s extra reps looked like they paid off, as the Panthers started overtime on a 9-0 run en route to a 79-68 victory over Franklinville. The title was Panama’s third straight, which the players affectionately called a “three-peat.”

“It’s not the way I envisioned it, going into overtime, but I couldn’t think of a better way to end it,” Angeletti said.

Panama jumped to an early lead, but Franklinville responded with a 19-5 second quarter run for a 33-27 halftime advantage, and took a five-point lead into the final
quarter.

Freshman Madalyn Bowen’s three-pointer with just under six minutes left tied the game at 48, yet Panama found itself down five, 57-52, with less than two minutes left. The Panthers rallied to tie at 59, and Franklinville could not get off a last attempt to win in regulation.

Bowen, who finished with 23 points, said tying the game late increased the team’s adrenaline and motivation, and may have brought Franklinville down.
“We were all up. We believed we could do it,” she said.

Franklinville was also led by an impressive freshman. Danielle Haskell had a game-high 36 points, including six three-pointers. She hit several big shots late in regulation, including a three to take a 57-52 lead, which could have clinched it for Franklinville.

Her competition was impressed.

“She can go body and do a floater, she can do that little jab step and get you vertical, go by you and do a reverse layup, and then she could hit a Steph Curry three-point shot from half court,” Angeletti said.

“Tonight, lucky for us, we found a way as more of a team effort and spaced it out a little bit more. What a player, though.”

The team now moves onto regionals. Bowen said the overtime thriller should give Panama a lift.

“I think that game really will bring us up,” she said. “It brings our confidence up going into that next game that we will win hopefully.”

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