MEDFORD, Ore. — The South Medford Panthers have been working all year to get a chance to redeem themselves in the playoffs. They brought back a vast majority of the 2018-2019 team and all of the determination.
It started with a flurry of tough games to start the season. The Panthers faced stout competition during their trip to Hawaii, taking on some of the best teams from the West Coast and Hawaii. From there, they started playing well, until a rough loss to 5A Silverton.
"Another really bad loss, but we learned from it," Bella Stone, junior, said about the loss. "We got in the gym after and I think we realized as a team that that can't happen again."
Since then, they haven't lost a single game. And they've won by large margins. Only two games have been decided by 10 or fewer points.
Internally and externally, they look and feel like a whole new team.
"We're definitely more together as a team," Stone said. "We like to play for each other more. The passing level's improved. We're a different team then we were at the beginning of the season for sure."
"We have a lot of experience, I guess you would say," junior guard Toni Coleman said. "Just the trust that we have this year, knowing that we have each other's back and being there for one another and that we play together as a team has been a really big uplift."
They will be rewarded for their play in the second half of the season, potentially getting to host two home playoff games before heading to Portland. The Panthers will put a 13-game win streak on the line Tuesday night against Tigard High School. Tip-off is set for 6 pm at South Medford High School.