Top ranked Braves conquer Panthers in regional final

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Panorama's Angel Poldberg battles two Shenandoah players for a rebound Tuesday in their Class 3A Region 1 contest. Photo courtesy Vallerie Storesund.

ROCKWELL CITY — Cherokee Washington proved Saturday they were deserving of their top billing in Class 3A by handing a good Panorama team a lopsided loss in the Region 1 Final.

The Braves (22-0) advanced to the state tournament with the win while the Panthers had their season end at 19-5. Panorama seniors Shey Storesund, Ella Waddle, and Jaden Johnson appeared in a Panther basketball uniform for the final time in the loss. The trio has seen plenty of success in their career, and depart with a four-year combined record of 84-13 (.866).

The Panthers kept the game close early, and trailed just 16-14 after the first quarter.

However, the Braves slowly began to assert control, using a 27-10 burst in the second quarter to enter the intermission holding a 43-24 lead. Eight minutes later the spread stood at 26 points, with Panorama trailing, 61-35, leaving only the final stanza to play itself out.

“We fought hard to the final buzzer against a very physical team,” Panorama head coach Kylee Boettcher said. “We were able to alter their play, but they executed in other ways.”

Payton Beckman led the Panthers with 22 points, with Angel Poldberg scoring 12 points. Tyme Boettcher added six points, with Laci Rishel, Jaidyn Sellers, and Storesund scoring two points apiece.

Storesund pulled down five rebounds and Boettcher and Poldberg four each, with Poldberg and Ella Waddle making four steals apiece.

Panorama sank only 2-of-16 attempted 3-pointers and only 4-of-10 free throws while Cherokee was 19-of-27 at the foul line.

JeMae Nichols led all scorers with 26 points, with Lexi Pingel adding 19 points and Kenna Mongan 11. Eight points from Abbey Vandelune, four from Camille Zwiefel, three from Molly Pitts, two from Grace Anderson, and one from Harper Benson accounted for the Braves offense.

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