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Paxton Drops First Round Matchup at State Ending the Year at 17-10

Wednesday was the first day of the 2024 NSAA Girls State Basketball Tournament, and the #8 seed in Class D2, the Paxton Tigers, had the first game of the day at Pinnacle Bank Arena against #1 seed Overton. Paxton played hard and hung in the game, but fell 51-27.

That score does not dictate at all how well Paxton played and they gave the Eagles a lot of fits for the first 16 minutes of the game.

In the opening quarter, Overton was tough on the glass like they have been all season long. The Tigers were getting good looks on offense, but could not convert early on. Overton took a 9-2 lead at the 4:11 mark. That forced Paxton to take a timeout and regroup. The score remained 9-2 going into the second period.

Paxton went into the second quarter with a plan to attack and did they ever. The Tigers shut down the Overton attack and went up 15-12 late in the first half. Jolee Ryan of Overton hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie it at 15-15 at the intermission.

That three-pointer was huge for the Eagles' momentum going to the second half.

One issue for the Tigers heading into the second half was foul trouble. Both Jacelyn Jorgensen and Emmalee Nicholson were trying to play physical without fouling but struggled to do so as they had to back off the aggressiveness a little.

The Tigers held the Eagles to no points for nearly nine minutes.

In the second half though, Overton took control of the game. It did take a little time but eventually, they were able to create distance. The Eagles began with a 5-0 run to go up 20-15. Then the Tigers hit a three to get back within two. From there, the Eagles went on a 15-3 run to close the quarter. Paxton trailed 38-23 going to the final quarter.

In the final period, the Eagles continued to shoot it well, scoring another 13 points while holding Paxton to four points.

Abigail Nicholson led Paxton in scoring with nine points. Jaleigh Hansen had six points and Ella Fote scored three points and snared 10 rebounds.

Natalie Wood had 15 points and 21 rebounds for Overton. 13 of those rebounds were offensive. Jolee Ryan scored 17 points and had 17 rebounds. As a team, they grabbed 64 rebounds and 37 of them were offensive.

Overton moves to 26-1 and will play #4 seeded Howells-Dodge on Friday at 6:00 P.M. from the Devaney Center.

For Paxton, this was the first time they have made it to state since 2009. They finished 4th that season. And even with the loss this time around at state, this team has a lot to be proud of.

We caught up with Head Coach of the Tigers Chance Morland and he had this to say about the experience this season. "Words can't explain how proud I am. For 15 years it's been a drought for the Lady Basketball Team. They have set the standard of where we want to be, now you got to take the next step of get down here and produce. And so now you use that feeling of defeat to better yourself during the offseason."

Paxton ends the season at 17-10. Congrats to the Tigers on a nice season.


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