Brandon Hall’s Lady Panthers and Coach Katie Vernon entered the season with expectations of an improvement over their fourth-place finish in 2011-2012. There was no way of knowing that this improvement would mean blowing through the AAC with a 10-1 record leading up to the championship game. In the programs second year after a three-year hiatus, the Lady Panthers have proved themselves the team to beat.
Before the Lady Panthers were able to cut down the nets they would face a talented, experienced opponent in the Howard Hawks. The Hawks came into the game as the No. 2 seed and took Brandon Hall to overtime in the first contest.
The first half lived up to its billing as each team went back and forth with Brandon Hall’s Khari Howard finding her range from the elbow and Howard’s Katya Diamond knocking down her trademark trade-pointers. The half time score found Brandon Hall with a slim15-12 advantage.
In the second half the Lady Panthers took over the contest as Lexi Stein created numerous turnovers and turned them into baskets at the other end. Brandon Hall won the third stanza 14-3 and held a 12-point lead at the end of the third quarter. The overflow crowd could sense a Panther title but with the three-point shooters that Howard had it was still anyone’s game.
Brandon Hall kept their composure under the Hawks pressure and cruised to a 36-22 victory. Lexi Stein led Brandon Hall with 16 points while Khari Howard also scored 11. The celebration ensued as this group of young ladies helped Brandon Hall win its first girls championship since the 2000-2001 season.