North Lamar Pantherette Mylee Nottingham, center, battles with Chisum Lady Mustangs Brooklyn Atnip and Brylea Marshall for possession of a loose ball in Tuesday’s game. North Lamar won 59-28.

With seconds to go in the first half, North Lamar Pantherette Maddie Walters received the ball under her own basket, dribbled around a few Chisum Lady Mustang defenders, and released a desperation heave after taking just a couple steps past the halfcourt line as the buzzer sounded.

Lo and behold, the shot was right on the money, and the miraculous 3-pointer sent North Lamar into the halftime locker room with a 29-11 lead. It was just one of those days for the Pantherettes.

Powered by aggressive defensive tenacity, the Pantherettes took control of their intra-town showdown early on and cruised to a 59-28 victory over the Chisum Lady Mustangs.

It was Chisum who got on the scoreboard first when, on the game’s opening play, Harmony Marsh used some nice post moves to back down her defender and score in the low block.

North Lamar answered back, tying the game on their first possession, and Chisum would not reclaim a lead for the remainder of the game.

“We had to make a couple small tweaks and adjustments early, but as soon as we did that we were able to lock in defensively,” North Lamar head coach Brittney Tisdell said. “We have a kill goal, and for us, a ‘kill’ is when we get three stops in a row. We were able to get our 12 kills that we want in a game.”

Offensively, the Pantherettes utilized some nice passing, such as a beautiful touch pass under the basket from Lauren Dority to twin sister Logan Dority for a layup, and a number of long passes upcourt on the fast break.

In the second quarter, the Pantherettes stretched their lead to 13 in the opening seconds, though free throws by Marsh and a runner along the baseline by Peyton Holland briefly cut the lead back to 10.

North Lamar pushed the lead back up with transition baskets by Walters and Logan Dority, and also with some truly excellent free throw shooting.

The Pantherettes made five of their eight free throw attempts in the second quarter, building on an opening quarter in which they drained four of five.

“Free throws are something we work at and really want to be good at,” Walters said. “They’re literally free points, and our mindset is that there’s no reason to be missing them.”

Solid low post defense from Lauren Dority and Pantherette Hutton Pointer forced a trio of Chisum misses in the final seconds of the game, ultimately setting up Walter’s dramatic buzzer beater.

“I had a feeling (the shot was good) when it left my hands, but I really didn’t know if it’d be an airball or what,” Walters said with a grin. “We’ve had a ton of buzzer beaters and been really lucky on those sorts of shots. First it was Mylee (Nottingham) and Lauren in the Bells Tournament, and now I got one, so I bet we’ll probably go through the whole team.”

Walters was electric throughout the first half, using her speed and some nice handles to get to the rim and pace her team’s offense.

For Chisum’s part, the defense was no slouch though, and guards Ava Lamb and Holland did a good job of forcing turnovers with tenacious on-ball pressure.

“There were definitely some bright spots defensively, even though we struggled rebounding the ball,” Chisum head coach Will Smith said. “There’s definitely some little things we can tighten up and tweak offensively and defensively. I think we need to work on being patient on offense. Just because they’re applying pressure doesn’t mean they’re necessarily in the right spots defensively, and we had some moments where we kind of freaked out when there was the opportunity for us to take advantage.”

In the fourth quarter, the Pantherettes got a boost from freshman Roselyn Spencer, who came up with four steals in the period, picking off passes football-style and then running the fast break.

“She’s big time,” Tisdell said. “In junior high, you don’t really run an offense, and now not only is she having to pick that up, but she’s adjusting to the varsity level so quickly. … By the time district rolls around, people are going to watch her play and be shocked that she’s just in ninth grade.”

The Lady Mustangs ended the game with some momentum, as Lamb, Holland and post player Emma Garner made some nice baskets in the closing minutes, though the Pantherettes had stretched out a lead that was not in question by that point, and they finished the game with a 31-point win.

Walters led all scorers with 18 points. Lauren Dority finished the game with 16, Nottingham had 13, Spencer had five, Dani Blount had three and Logan Dority had two.

For the Lady Mustangs, Holland scored nine, Garner and Marsh each had seven, Lamb had four and Atnip had a point.

“We played well, but we can play even better,” Tisdell said. “I know they’re tired; they’ve played seven games in the last eight days. So this Thanksgiving break is coming at a perfect time, and they can take a break and get some carbs in them.”

Tommy Culkin is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at

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