Panthers Eliminated from NJCAA Playoffs

Shantasia Jeffrey
Shantasia Jeffrey

A back-and-forth game that saw the lead change hands ten times saw the Tompkins Cortland Community College women's basketball team on the wrong end of the last lead change as the Panthers season came to an end with a 74-65 loss at Fulton-Montgomery Community College Tuesday. The NJCAA Region III tournament defeat ends the season for the Panthers, the tournament's #6 seed, with an overall record of 9-12.  Fulton-Montgomery, the #3 seed, advances to the regional semifinal round.

Four of the lead changes came in the first half. Amber Whitehead (Deposit/Deposit H.S.) opened the game with a layup to put Tompkins Cortland on the board first. Fulton-Montgomery responded with a 10-2 run to lead 10-4, but the Panthers rallied to tie the game at 10-10, and then recapture the lead on a three-pointer by Taylor Day (Brooktondale/Ithaca H.S.), ending the quarter with a 13-12 advantage. The lead grew to five points at 20-15 early in the second quarter, but Fulton-Montgomery used a 9-2 run to move back in front 24-22. The final two minutes of the half saw the Raiders extend the lead to the halftime margin of 32-27.

Fulton-Montgomery started the third with a bucket, but the Panthers scored the next seven, tying the game at 34-34 on a three-pointer from Day. After trading a few baskets, Macy Boice (Homer/Homer H.S.) put the Panthers up with a three-pointer, 41-39, with 4:20 left in the third. The teams traded the lead four more times in the quarter, with Tompkins Cortland ending the period by scoring the final four points to lead 52-49 heading into the final ten minutes.

The fourth opened with the Raiders tying the game on a three-pointer, but Reyanah Brown (Syracuse/Syracuse Academy of Science) put the Panthers back in front with a free throw, 53-52, with just under nine minutes to go. A quick 8-1 burst gave the lead back to Fulton-Montgomery, and though the Panthers cut it to a single possession several times, they could never get all the way back. A four-point game with just over a minute left stretched to the final nine-point margin when the Panthers were forced to foul and the Raiders sealed the game at the free throw line.

Shantasia Jeffrey (Harlem/Curtis H.S.) led four Panthers in double digits scoring with 20 points, just missing a double-double with 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. Brown did post a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, and Boice finished with 13 points to go with 5 rebounds, 6 steals, and 3 assists. Day ended with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.