The third quarter has miffed Oswego all season long.
It got the best of the Panthers once again during Monday’s Class 4A Oswego Regional quarterfinal game against Metea Valley.
The Mustangs blanked the Panthers, 14-0, in the third quarter to break open the game and ultimately earn a 58-44 victory.
“The third quarter has been an issue all year for us,” Oswego coach Dave Beebe said. “It’s been like that every single game. We recently played Oswego East, who is one of the best teams in the state, but still they shouldn’t have outscored us 44-11 in the second half. It’s been the story of us all year. It’s all or nothing.”
Oswego (8-20) only trailed 31-23 at halftime, but couldn’t get anything going offensively in the third quarter.
“We were hustling and doing whatever we could but our shots weren’t falling,” Oswego senior Gillian O’Neil said. “We missed a lot of layups and I was one that missed a lot of them. We just had too many shots that didn’t go in. It would’ve been a different game if we make some of those baskets.”
The inability to score was one problem. The failure to limit second chances by the Mustangs was another.
An offensive rebound and lay-in from Janiece Thomas (10 points) gave the Mustangs a 43-23 lead with 1:42 left in the third quarter.
“We knew they had some kids that could score and plenty of size, but we thought we could match up with their size. But we weren’t defending well,” Beebe said. “We got out of our zone and went to man-to-man but we had too many breakdowns and that’s happened a lot this season.”
Freshman Angelina Schlinger’s 3-pointer with 6:04 left in the game gave the Panthers their first points of the second half, but only cut their deficit to 46-26.
The Panthers came out of the locker room much different in the second half than they did at the start of the game. At the beginning, the Oswego offense was fully functioning, but the Mustangs countered and actually outscored the Panthers, 22-13.
Brianna Hall stretched the Oswego defense, as she made three of her four 3-pointers in the first quarter, opening things up inside for Ashley Konkle (8 points) and others.
“We just couldn’t take away what they were doing,” Beebe said. “And they were destroying us on the boards and it wasn’t just their bigger kids. Even their smaller kids were crashing and attacking the basket.”
Freshman Julia Henrikson led the Panthers with 8 points. Schlinger, O’Neil and Kira Sneed each had 6 points. Altogether, 11 different Panthers entered the scoring column and 24 of their points came off the bench.
It was the final game for Oswego’s seven seniors.
“It’s sad, especially for the girls that aren’t going to play in college,” O’Neil said. “We had a lot of fun this year even though we didn’t win as much as we wanted.”
“It’s always tough to see it end for your seniors,” Beebe said. “We had a great group of kids and we’ll miss them.”