AMERICAN FALLS – It was the first game of conference play for both the Snake River Lady Panthers and the American Falls Lady Beavers, so it was expected to be a tight ball game throughout.

As expected, the game began slowly as both teams were feeling the pressure of the conference opener.

Both teams struggled from the field and at the end of the first eight minutes, the score was very close, with Snake River holding a 7-6 lead.

It was in the second period that the Lady Panthers began to pull away, thanks to some smothering defense that forced numerous turnovers and the Snake River girls seemed to capitalize on each and every one of them. They outscored American Falls by a 16-3 margin and then just seemed to coast the rest of the way to the win.

When the two teams went to the locker room for halftime, the Lady Panthers held a 23-9 lead and they basically never looked back.

“Snake River’s a good team and we have to play all four quarters and they just took advantage of a few things and we have to rebound the ball,” Beavers coach Stephen Grigg said.

Coming back from the intermission, both teams played back and forth, but with the upper hand score-wise, that just played into the Snake River game plan. When you hold the lead, it forces the other team to be the aggressor and although they tried, the Lady Beavers just couldn’t cut into the Lady Panthers’ lead. The third quarter was a push as both teams scored nine points and the period ended with Snake River leading by a score of 32-18.

With a 14-point lead, it really made it pretty easy for Snake River to take time off the clock and work to just run the time down and score when they could. The clock was definitely on the side of the Lady Panthers.

Try as they might, the Lady Beavers just couldn’t make any headway into that big Snake River lead. When the final buzzer sounded, it was all Snake River by the final score of 41-28.

Next up for Snake River will be a Saturday road game as they travel to South Fremont for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off before they return to conference action a week from Saturday when they will entertain American Falls on Jan. 25 with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

SNAKE RIVER 41, AMERICAN FALLS 28

Snake River 7 16 9 9 – 41

American Falls 6 3 9 10 – 28

Snake River – Olivia Kracl 7, Adia Goff 9, Josee Steadman 17, Reagan Van Orden 2, Sage Stimpson 2, Tatum Cherry 2, Jordyn Gilbert 2.

American Falls – Long 14, Fehringer 1, Bell 4, E. Barclay 9.