To say the Parkway Lady Panthers have played a challenging early season schedule would be an understatement.
In Week 1, Parkway faced the 2022 Class 3A state champion and Class 4A runner-up, defeating both.
This week, the Lady Panthers have played two teams in ESPN’s top 25 national rankings and the defending Arkansas Class 6A champion.
Parkway lost all three, but they held their own in each.
The most recent was a battle against ESPN No. 2 Sierra Canyon, Calif., Friday afternoon at the Centenary Gold Dome. Sierra Canyon won 61-49 before a large crowd.
The featured two of the nation’s best players, Parkway’s Mikaylah Williams and Sierra Canyon’s Juju Watkins. The two were teammates on the USA squad that won the U-17 World Cup in July in Debrecen, Hungary.
Watkins, a USC signee, scored 24 points. Williams, an LSU signee, scored 17.
Junior Chloe Larry, one of the state’s best players, led Parkway with 21 points.
Larry scored nine in the first quarter to help Parkway grab a 15-12
Sierra Canyon’s MacKenly Randolph had nine of her 17 points in the second quarter and the Trailblazers took a 29-24 halftime lead.
With Watkins scoring eight, Sierra Canyon (3-0) extended the lead to 45-36 after three quarters.
The Blazers led by as many as 15 points in the fourth. A 3-pointer by Larry got the Lady Panthers within 10, but they could get no closer.
Parkway (3-3) faces Woodlawn in the David Bryant Memorial Classic Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at BPCC.