CARY — Panther Creek senior Allie Tuttle tied a career-high with 28 points on Friday in a girls’ basketball game featuring two teams with very different styles.
Tuttle’s Catamounts capitalized on their size and senior leadership, scoring 29 points in the fourth quarter to come from behind and defeat visiting Fuquay-Varina 67-52, earning Panther Creek’s first Tri-9 Conference victory of the year.
Fuquay senior guard Camille Baker led the Bengals with 20 points, and for the first three quarters she was almost perfect from beyond the arc. The younger, smaller Bengals shot well from outside to keep the game close into the fourth quarter.
Still, the key to the game was the Catamounts ability to get the ball down low to their 6-foot-4 center and let her go to work, which she did with a variety of low-post moves.
“I think we all knew we just needed this win and came out ready to play,” said Tuttle, who will play at Northwestern University next year. “That was the best fourth quarter we’ve played all year.”
Panther Creek head coach Geoff Bowman went one better. Bowman said the Catamounts 29 fourth-quarter points were a school record. Panther Creek improved to 6-5 on the year and 1-3 in the conference.
“That last quarter especially the girls shot in rhythm and shot the shots they were supposed to against a hustling Fuquay-Varina group,” Bowman said. “I’m very proud of the way the girls responded tonight.”
Bowman said Panther Creek had 20 team assists, with Jordan Webb leading the way with seven dimes. He emphasized that the Catamounts did a great job getting the ball to Tuttle in the right spots, and then she consistently converted.
Webb scored 14 points and was a force in the final period, while Zhana Gooden (11) hit two clutch three pointers in the third quarter when the Catamounts’ offense stalled, allowing the Bengals to take a 40-38 lead into the fourth.
Baker, who drained four three-point baskets, helped Fuquay (1-6, 1-3) overcome a 31-25 halftime deficit with her scoring and passing to forward Tiana Hunter (13 points).
“Camille Baker is a complete player, very unselfish,” Bowman said. “Coach (Monte) Bullock is doing a great job with those girls.”
Kelly Suggs added nine points for F-V, while Catamount Mercedes Harris posted 10 rebounds and teammate Anna Haryn added eight.