REDMOND — The Panthers are all alone in first place.
In a battle of 3-0 Intermountain Conference girls basketball teams, Redmond defeated Pendleton 56-45 Friday night to remain undefeated in league play.
“We’ve never been 4-0. We’ve never been first in league,” said Angela Capps, who is in her seventh year as Panthers coach. “It’s a thrill. It’s this group of girls who have come together. They have confidence and they believe in themselves and they don’t quit.”
The undefeated start comes after Redmond went 2-10 in league play last season.
“They’ve been through the wringer the past three years,” Capps said. “It’s their time and I’m so happy for them.”
The Panthers did not come out of the gate Friday on fire. Redmond made just one field goal, a McKaylie Capps 3-pointer, in the first seven minutes of the game.
An Ava Kitchin bucket in the paint tied the game at 13-13 with 5:50 remaining in the second period. But Pendleton took advantage of a string of Redmond turnovers to outscore the Panthers 12-6 the rest of the quarter and lead 25-19 at halftime.
“We had a talk at halftime and said we need to wake up,” Angela Capps said. “I don’t know what it was, if we just took them for granted, but we weren’t playing our game and we knew it.”
Kitchin, who finished with 13 points, again tied the game at 30-30 with 4:15 remaining in the third period. A Jordan Fox 3-point play then gave Redmond its first lead, 33-30, with 3:50 to go.
But the Panthers entered the fourth quarter down 36-35.
That is when junior Ellie Corwin and senior McKaylie Capps took over.
“I feel like in the second half we just played ball,” said Corwin, who scored nine of her 19 points in the fourth. “We didn’t think. We played basketball.”
Capps added nine of her 18 points in the final eight minutes as Redmond outscored the Buckaroos 19-7.
“Ellie had an amazing game,” Angela Capps said. “She was the spark. She was the catalyst. We have a lot of weapons and when we execute, it works really well. There’s no magic formula that I had. We just weren’t executing (in the first half) and they knew it. It was an amazing turnaround.”
Wrapping up the first half of Intermountain Conference play Tuesday at home against 1-3 Crook County, the Panthers are not getting ahead of themselves.
“It’s just one game at a time,” Angela Capps said. “That’s what we’re talking about right now.”
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