PANORA — Woodward-Granger did all they could Wednesday to upset host and sixth-ranked Panorama, but the Panther defense rose to the occasion late in the contest to stymie the Hawk upset bid.
Panorama (21-1) prevailed, 39-23, in the Class 2A Region 7 game, but not without having to fight off a determined W-G (11-12), who held the Panthers to 20 points below their season average.
The Panthers were 48-29 and 44-23 winners over the Hawks during the regular season but were not seriously threatened in either win. Such was not the case Wednesday, as the hosts trailed at the half for only the third time this season and finished with their fewest points save for a 47-37 loss to DMC, their sole setback of the campaign.
W-G needed to slow the pace to have any chance at the upset and did so early, leading 9-7 after one quarter and taking a 17-14 lead into the locker rooms.
Halfway through the third quarter the two WCAC rivals were tied at 21-all, but the guests scored only two points in the last 11-plus minutes of the game while the hosts pulled away, the closing 18-2 run turning aside the threat and making the final margin somewhat deceptive considering the tightness of most of the game.
Panorama played the kind of gritty ball they needed to when it mattered most, including sinking 7-of-9 at the free throw line in the second half. Bailey Beckman was 4-of-5 and Lydia Knapp 3-of-4 at the stripe down the stretch.
Anna Holloway hit two of her three 3-pointers in the second half to spark Panorama as she finished with nine points. Beckman had 10, Morgan Johnk eight and Knapp five, with Payton Beckman, Vallerie Storesund and Brooke Halterman scoring two points each and Ella Waddle one.
Darby Nixon’s seven first half points — six on a pair of 3-pointers — led W-G. Natalie Helbling scored five points, Katelyn Scharlau four, and Ava Petersen, Kayley Dresback and Lisa Pitman two apiece while Emma Anderson added a free throw.
Head coach Dan Druivenga will lead Panorama against Nodaway Valley (12-10) Friday in Adel at 7 p.m., with the latter a 53-42 victor over Southwest Valley Wednesday. Friday’s winner plays Monday in the Region 7 Final in either Waukee or Johnston, with either No. 7 Dike-New Hartford (18-2) or Van Meter (18-4) the opponent.
Woodward-Granger improved their record by seven games this season, rising to 11-12 overall after finishing 4-19 for head coach Gary Dresback. The Hawks lose two seniors to graduation, as Kayley Dresback and Lisa Pitman played their final prep contests Wednesday.