On Saturday morning to the screams of hundreds of fans, the dream season of the Lady Panthers came to an end. The Lady Panthers made it to the final game pitting the two best AA teams in the state – Clay County High School and James Monroe High School. The Lady Panthers had to work their way to the top by first defeating Pikeview. They did this in three straight games and advanced to the semi finals. The semi finals would be a grudge match and war with Oak Glen. Last year Oak Glen defeated the Lady Panthers in three straight games. It was indeed a ferocious battle this year with both teams equal in strength and determination. The series went down to the fifth and final game that would determine who would go head to head in the state finals. The first four games were gut wrenching and emotional as both teams dug in and fought, but in the end it was the Lady Panthers who came out on top and sent Oak Glen home. Saturday was championship day and the Lady Panthers were a focused and ready team. With hopes high and a packed, screaming Pit of fans, the Lady Panthers won the first game and were well on their way to becoming Clay’s first state champions. However, James Monroe was no wimp team, and they battled back against the Lady Panthers and won the second game. It looked as though it would go once again go to the fifth game to get a champion. Emotions were so thick one could almost burst into tears or swing from the roof beams with joy at any point in the next two games. In the world of volleyball, a team has to get to 25 to win, and beyond that number, they have to win by two. The second game Oak Glen won by the score of 27-29; a war that left fans exhausted, and I could only imagine what the players were going through. The third game went to 25-27 and the fourth and final game 26-28. As one can see, in no way did the Lady Panthers ever give up or give in, they just drew the short straw. It was one of the best sets of games ever played on the hardwood, and the Lady Panthers can hold their head just as high as if they had become state champions. It was emotional, full of grit and with hearts that just wouldn’t give up.
Clay County can be very proud of these twelve fine young women who took the Lady Panther name to great heights. No one will soon forget the 2014 Lady Panthers. Thanks to Coach Todd Samples for his dedication to these girls, for making them believe that they could be state champions and helping them almost make it a reality. Also, thanks to the best Pit in any high school and the best fans in the world for the support they showed. Congratulations to Sarah Boggs, Gracen Samples and Isabelle Haverty for earning All Tournament awards. Emotions run deep, it’s what makes true champions. Hold your head up girls, you did good.