Courier Sports Editor
PUEBLO—Ticky-tack fouls helped deflate the Sangre de Cristo Thunderbirds’ state championship hopes Thursday night as the Thunderbirds were called for 30 personal fouls and fell to the Peyton Panthers 53-33 here at Massari Arena.
Because of the several foul calls, the Thunderbirds found themselves more than a quarter without their senior leader, Kathryn New. Senior Kendra Neese also fouled out with 4:01 remaining in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Abbey Stagner was called for her fifth foul with 3:05 left in the game.
The Thunderbirds will return to action on Friday at 10:15 a.m. when they play Ignacio.
The first quarter saw the Panthers jump out to a 5-0 lead before three free throws by New and a jumper by Jessica Gilmore made the score 5-all. The Thunderbirds would take an 8-5 lead in a 3-pointer by Allie Beiriger but the Panthers countered with a 7-1 run to take a 12-9 lead after a quarter. One of the defining moments in the first quarter was at 3:47 in the first quarter as New was called with her third personal foul.
Once again the Thunderbirds battled back in the second quarter as they scored a 10-0 run to make the score 19-18 with four minutes remaining in the quarter. Foul calls caught up to Sangre de Cristo as the Panthers went on a 12-0 run including three 3-pointers to make the score 30-21 at the half.
New returned to the game in the third quarter but she promptly received her fourth foul with 7:37 remaining. New was able to score a couple of points to make the score 30-25 before she was charged with her fifth foul on a questionable charging foul at the 3:32 mark of the quarter. As the quarter progressed a double technical foul was called for extra physical play. The play was sophomore Abbey Stagner’s fourth foul forcing Head Coach Brady Stagner to put her on the bench. The Panthers used free throws and errant passes by Sangre de Cristo to open up a 38-29 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Sangre de Cristo was only able to score four free throws in the final quarter to fall 53-33.
Beiriger and Jessica Gilmore were the team’s high scorers with six points each, while New finished with five points. Freshman Jenna McKinley and freshman Karleigh Cooley each scored four points, Stagner and Heather Dieckman finished with three and Neese finished with two.