Scrappy and hustling, but Lady Panthers lose three

In a strenuous week of play, the Lady Panthers varsity basketball lost one game at home and two on the road.

The girls played an exciting game at home last Thursday (Jan. 26) against Madison. “We fell 38-23,” coach Rich Hogan said. “Maddie Kopjanski earned her way to the charity stripe 11 times, scoring nine points. Klaire Gubler added five points and another three-point shot from outside the arc. Lauren ‘Lights Out’ Light put in seven. Maria Garraeda scored two.

“The game saw the Madison County veteran coach get very animated with her team as Rappahannock showed scrappiness and hustle throughout the game,” Hogan said.

In their first travel game of the week on Monday night (Jan. 30), the Lady Panthers visited Strasburg, succumbing to the Rams 49-16.

“We all went in really ready for a game,” Kopjanski said. “We knew it was going to be competitive, but it was way more aggressive than we even thought. They jumped all over us  . . . grabbing, reaching. There was a lot of falling. It was bad. There were lots of fouls called and quite a few that weren’t. Three of us fouled out: Maria, Klaire and Lauren.

“Lauren fouled out at start of fourth quarter, and we had no more guards,” she said. “So Taylor Cunningham and I had to bring the ball out and be a guard. I’m usually post, under the basket. That was really weird, but it went pretty well. I’ve never even practiced a thing that a guard does, so it was really different. We also got quite a few people in off the bench. That was really nice.

“Strasburg had a really good defense, so I didn’t score that much,” said Kopjanski. “Plus, I had three fouls in the second quarter, and coach had to take me out for a while. I went back in during second half and ended up with four fouls by end of third quarter.”

Hogan also saw the Rams as a “very aggressive and experienced team. We did our best, team-wise, in the first quarter but got those three players into foul trouble and could not recover.

On Tuesday night (Jan. 31), Lady Panthers went down 71-25 in Mustang territory. “The score does not really indicate the game,” Hogan said. “The two-time returning state champs, George Mason, were gracious hosts, and both squads got to play deep into the bench. We made some advancements in our game that I hope will transfer and/or continue through to the final games. ‘Mad Dog’ Gub [Gubler] and Light each scored six points. Garraeda had four.

“The girls are hanging in there,” he said. “It will not get easier from here out. We play the three best teams in the district during the final part of our regular season. Then we face the best district team for a playoff game. We are measuring success in different ways these days.” 

Lady Panthers have their next game on the road Friday (Feb. 3) in Central Woodstock. Game time is 6:15 p.m.