Colusa County’s two smallest high schools squared off in a non-conference basketball twin bill last Wednesday night in Maxwell. After the dust had settled, the hometown Panthers emerged with a 41-18 victory over the visiting Princeton Eagles in the varsity girl’s game, while the varsity boys followed up with a come-from-behind 62-51 win.
In the girl’s contest, Maxwell extended its defense making it difficult for the Eagles to initiate their offense and as a result forced turnovers they would convert into points at the other end of the court.
Sophomore Emma Hendrix recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Panthers, as did freshman Fatima Cano, who finished with 12 points and 19 boards.
Cano is currently the section leader in rebounds, having collected 170 thus far in the preseason.
Senior Magdalena Torres pitched in with nine points for Maxwell (4-10), which is improving each time it takes the court this season after having not played at all a year ago.
Junior Sophia Deniz led Princeton (0-6) with six points, while senior Rohelia Gomez and freshman Mackenzie Wills added four points apiece.
In the nightcap, the Panthers avenged a Dec. 9 loss to the Eagles, but it didn’t come easy as Princeton held a 27-26 advantage over Maxwell at intermission.
Yet, in the second half, the Panther defense was able to run the Eagles off the three-point line, corral most of the misses, and then score in transition, to take its first lead with less than a minute remaining in the third period.
From there, Maxwell (6-8) was able to gain control of the game after opening the final quarter with a 9-2 run.
Junior Berto Lara sparked the Panthers’ second half charge, scoring 17 of his game-high 21 points, in addition to playing well defensively.
Fellow junior Dillon Dry added some pop from the outside, tallying 19 points on the night.
Credit for the win also goes to assistant coach Jose Melesio, who in filling in for head coach Gustavo Rangel, managed the game well down stretch.
It was a disappointing loss for the Eagles (5-7), who despite getting 16 points from Junior Andrade and 12 from Tito Reynoso, didn’t shoot as well, as they did in the first meeting between the two squads, and struggled on the boards against the bigger, more physical Panthers.
Both Maxwell teams opened Five Star League play on Jan. 11 in Burney, traveles to Woodland Christian for non-conference games tonight, and then host league foe Chester on Friday night.
Princeton tips off at home tonight against Paradise Adventist in a Pioneer Valley League game, then makes the long trek to Herlong Friday evening. ■