Already with a school record for victories, Panorama now has another milestone to celebrate.
The Panthers are in the state tournament semifinals for the first time, thanks to a 46-38 victory over Iowa City Regina in the Class 2A quarterfinals.
It’s the second state tourney win in eight tries for fourth-seeded Panorama (25-1), which will face top seed and defending champion Dike-New Hartford at 10 a.m. on Friday. The Panthers did it by building an 11-point lead and then fending off a late charge by the fifth-seeded Regals, who finish 20-5.
Payton Beckman led Panorama with 20 points while playing all 32 minutes. She also had three rebounds, three assists and a steal. Angel Poldberg added nine points, while Jaidyn Sellers, a two-time state sprint champion last spring, produced eight points, seven rebounds, five steals and three blocks.
Regina, making its eighth trip to state, lost for just the second time in the last 13 games. The Regals got 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks from Lily Simpson and eight points and six rebounds from Alli Dillon, both playing their final high school game. Sophomore Alli Clark finished with six points and six rebounds.
Regina kept pace with the Panthers until Beckman hit a jump shot midway through the fourth quarter to start an 11-0 run that produced a 26-15 lead. Panorama led the rest of the way but was never entirely comfortable until the final minute.
The Panthers twice led by 11, the last time at 39-28 with 4:52 left. Regina rattled off the next seven points to get back in it before Sellers, a sophomore, dropped in two free throws to stop the run. Regina then missed three shots on its next possession and that turned out to be the Regals’ final gasp.
Beckman drove into the lane for a bucket, Sellers came up with a steal 15 seconds later and Beckman sank two free throws to stretch the lead to 45-35 and wrap things up.