Panther girls set on taking the next step

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PANORA, Iowa — The seniors on the Panorama girls basketball team have, among their shared experiences, one they hope to alter this season — winning at least one more game.

The Panthers have been stopped in the Regional Finals the past three years, ending campaigns with a strong combined record of 63-11. The team was 19-5 last year and 13-2 in WCAC play, and capturing that one additional win will, no doubt, be high on the list of goals for head coach Kylee Boettcher’s squad.

The team shot 39 percent from the floor and converted on 31 percent of their attempted 3-point shots. As a team, the Panthers sank 62 percent of their free throws.

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Defense was a key for Panorama, who held opponents to just 35 points per game while averaging 58 ppg. The Panthers came away with 436 steals, an impressive average of 18 thefts per outing. Their own offense took fair care of the ball, committing 361 turnovers, a number the team will certainly be working on lowering.

Senior all-state guard Payton Beckman returns to lead the way. She poured in 488 points (20.3 ppg) while grabbing 88 rebounds last year. Beckman had 96 steals and 60 assists, sank 61-of-159 (38 percent) of her 3-pointers and was a strong 93-of-116 (80 percent) from the free throw line.

She is fourth in school history with 1,151 points and is just 13 steals shy of tying the school mark for thefts. Her next made 3-pointer will tie older sister Bailey for the most made triples (144) in school history.

Senior Laci Rishel will be a key cog as well. She had 228 points (9.5 ppg) with 66 rebounds and 104 assists. Rishel tallied 91 steals and sank 23-of-74 (31 percent) of her 3-pointers.

Also critical will be the play of the only other senior returning, Angel Poldberg. She scored 184 points (7.7 ppg) and cleared 103 boards to go along with 55 steals and 33 assists. Poldberg was 35-of-58 (60 percent) at the charity stripe.

Jaidyn Sellers will also be expected to contribute. She had 57 points, 80 rebounds, 30 steals and 10 assists as a freshman.

Panorama does not open play until hosting Mt. Ayr Nov. 30. They entertain Madrid Dec. 3 and visit IKM-Manning Dec. 4. All three dates are boys/girls outings.