Panhandle High School held Irion County to just 16 second-half points to win 64-41 in a Region I-2A girls basketball semifinal game Friday in Levelland.
The No. 3-ranked Pantherettes, leading 52-37 going into the fourth quarter, clamped down on defense, allowing the No. 24 Lady Hornets just four points in the final eight minutes.
Irion County ended its season at 30-6 overall, having won three playoff games and earning a school-record total wins. Panhandle (27-6) advances to the final where it will face No. 4 Claude, a 53-39 winner over No. 15 Sundown. Panhandle is the defending regional champion and lost by five points in the 2A state title game last year.
Panhandle’s Grace Kuehler led all scorers with 24 points, most of them coming in the low post position.
“They ended up with I think 15 offensive rebounds and their post player inside did a great job of getting some space for her shots,” Irion County head coach Jacob Conner said.
In both the third and fourth quarters, the Lady Hornets were able to get some defensive stops but could not capitalize on the offensive end. After a 7-1 run gave Panhandle a 59-38 lead in the fourth, the Lady Hornets got three consecutive stops but were unable to score from the 6:47 point in the fourth to 2:30, when Alex Martinez hit a 3-pointer to pull Irion County within 61-41.
In the third…