Holly Panchak came out of the locker room, ran around the corner and hugged close to half of the fans on the Concord sideline.
The second game of her high school basketball career went a little better than anyone had planned.
Panchak poured in 13 of her game-high 16 points in the fourth quarter and overtime as No. 5 Concord stormed from behind for a 53-49 home victory over No. 6 Padua on Thursday.
Panchak missed all of her freshman season due to back surgery. She was the third player off the bench for the Raiders but came up big late after senior leaders Meghan Doogan and Taylor Azer fouled out.
“I was not the one to look for,” Panchak said. “I’m a sophomore; this is my first year of playing high school basketball. I came off the bench, and I knew it was my time to shine.”
The rest of the Raiders got it in gear, too, scoring 34 points in the fourth quarter and overtime after managing just 19 over the first three frames.
“We cut out the anxiety, settled down, did what we can do,” Concord coach John Armstrong said. “Move the ball around, be patient, not be too anxious.”
The Pandas (1-1) led 12-8 after the first quarter and 19-15 at the half. Rachel Liszkiewicz scored off an offensive rebound and hit two free throws to push Padua ahead 23-15, and the Pandas took a 27-19 lead into the fourth quarter.
That’s when the Raiders started to find the mark. They opened the quarter with a 14-6 run, and Nisa Pulliam’s layup tied it at 33 with 4:06 to play. Padua pushed its lead back to four, but a 3-pointer by Alexa Venuto cut Concord’s deficit to 40-39.
The Pandas’ Megan Mallon hit a free throw with 41 seconds left, and Doogan scored off an offensive rebound to tie it at 41 with 26 seconds to go. Both teams misfired late to send it to overtime.
Padua went up 44-41 on Mallon’s layup and a free throw by Taylor Hazewski. But it was all Concord from there. Doogan splashed a 3-pointer to tie it, and Panchak drilled a 12-footer to give the Raiders their first lead of the game at 46-44. On their next trip down the floor, the sophomore drained a 3-pointer from the right wing to push Concord’s lead to 49-44 with 1:39 to play.
“I knew I had to shoot when the ball was in my hand,” Panchak said. “I felt that I could make that shot.”
The Raiders (1-1) lost their season opener 39-36 at St. Mark’s last Saturday. But the comeback should give them a boost with Blue Hen Flight A games on the horizon.
“It’s going to help us believe,” Armstrong said. “Believe in what we can do, what we’re capable of doing. It was a measure of them as a team after having that close loss to St. Mark’s.”
Doogan and Venuto each added eight points for Concord. Emma Matthews led Padua with 12 points, while Liszkiewicz and Mallon each scored nine.