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Panthers bust the streak
Times photo: Adam Krebs Pecatonicas Kimee Chandler tries to dribble around Judas Rachel Bartels on her way to the hoop in the final seconds of Fridays game. Chandler would be called for a carry moments later, with 1.1 seconds left on the clock, to end the game.
JUDA - It had been over 15 years since the Juda Panthers last defeated Pecatonica in girls basketball before Friday's 53-51 finish in the regular season finale.

"It's been a long time," Juda head coach Curt Brown said.

Brown, who has been coaching the Panthers for five years, said his squad hadn't knocked off the Vikings in his tenure. Pam Green, who has coached Juda sports for several years, said the last win was prior to 1995, but no one in the gym knew for sure how long it really was.

"This is something special. This is one that the girls really wanted to win," Brown said.

The Panthers used a big second quarter to pick up the momentum on Pecatonica. After leading just 11-9 after the first, the Vikings went on a quick 6-0 run to open the second. By halftime, the advantage was seven at 26-19.

"We slowed the game down early. Last time we played, the tempo of the game was not where we wanted it to be, but tonight we slowed it down to our pace," Brown said.

Juda's top post players, Ellen Kiser and Heather Boeke, combined for 16 points in the first half.

"It's amazing playing with Ellen. We feed off of each other so well," Boeke said. Kiser finished with 15 points and Boeke had 12.

Pecatonica struggled to find its offense. Wisconsin-Milwaukee recruit Kimee Chandler scored just two points in the first half, but found a way to distribute the ball.

"Kimee does more than just score for us. When she didn't have her shot going, she was creating offense and finding other girls," Pecatonica head coach Tom Wilkins said. Chandler finished with 16 points.

Juda appeared to have the game in check until the fourth quarter. Leading by as much as 50-36 in the third, the Panthers' offense shut down. Chandler scored eight points in the fourth and the Vikings scored three times in transition to make it a 2-point game with 2:09 to play.

"We had a nice run there. We sped up the offense and our defense forced some turnovers," Wilkins said. "We just had some missed opportunities there at the end."

Missed opportunities and turnovers doomed the Vikings down the stretch, with Chandler being called for a carry with 1.1 left on the clock while trying to tip-toe through traffic for the final shot.

"We played pretty well. We fought as tough as we could. But it's always tough to lose these close games," Wilkins said. "I hope this is going to carry over positively next week (for playoffs)."

Juda (11-11) will try to find any leftover magic the Panthers had a year ago. In 2009, Juda surprised southern Wisconsin with a run to the regional final and finished with a 12-11 overall record.

"Hopefully everything the girls learned last year will carry over again. They know what they are capable of doing," Brown said. Juda hosts Williams Bay Tuesday.

Pecatonica will have to find some extra motivation for Tuesday's matchup with Shullsburg. After playing for the regional title in each of the last three seasons, the Vikings (9-13) had a down year.

"It's a new season. We'll definitely be pumped and ready to go," Chandler said.