For the first eight minutes, Belfast and Medomak Valley were locked in a heated battle, despite the frigid, snowy conditions on the other side of the school walls.

The teams trampled up and down the court, leaving a wake of athletes and sound waves from sneakers, coaches, players and referee whistles, alike.

Intensity was front and center, but once the initial whistle of the second quarter sounded, the Panthers left the Lions in their wake with relentless defensive pressure, as the visitors stormed away with a 61-31 high school girls basketball victory on Tuesday night, Feb. 9.

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Medomak Valley improved to 6-1, while Belfast dropped to 2-5.

The Panthers also beat the Lions 46-17 earlier in the season.

On Tuesday, the opponents exchanged the lead in the opening stanza, but the hosts held a 13-11 advantage, before the Panthers took control and led 30-18 at halftime and 42-21 after the third quarter.

Abby Lash led the visitors with 19 points, while Addison McCormick tallied nine; Maya Cannon, eight; Julia Kunesh, seven; Autumn Ripley, five; Sara Nelson, three; and Katherine McKenney, Zaniah Puchalski, Baylee Stewart, Paris Pierpont and Alyssa Creamer, two. Lash made the team's lone 3-pointer.

Lillie Mitchell paced Belfast with 10 points, as Emma Waldron added five; Madison Farris, Adria Barrows and Halle Tripp, four; and Jaiden Philbrook and Hailee Lindelof, two. Tripp knocked down the lone trey for the Lions.

Medomak Valley was 12-of-17 (70 percent) from the foul line, while Belfast was 4-of-10 (40 percent).

The teams went blow for blow in the first quarter, as the lead exchanged hands multiple times.

Kunesh got a shot to fall to give the Panthers the lead, 8-6, but, after turnovers from the foes, Tripp knocked down Belfast's lone 3-pointer to push the hosts ahead 9-8.

Medomak Valley forced a Lions' turnover, and Kunesh was alone in the Panther offensive end for an easy layup to push the visitors ahead, 10-9.

On the other end, Lindelof made an easy basket after two Panthers fell down in the paint, as Belfast reclaimed the lead, and held it, for a time.

After the first quarter though, it was all Medomak Valley.

Ripley drove baseline, made a layup off the glass, and tied the game 13-13 to open the second stanza, and started an 11-0 Panther run.

The visitors got points from Ripley's free throw, two McCormick foul shots, Lash's layup, a second-chance basket after Mitchell blocked the initial shot for Belfast, and two more free throws from Cannon.

Mitchell made a layup with 3:30 to play in the half for Belfast's first bucket of the second quarter, which cut the Medomak Valley lead to 21-15.

Lash followed Mitchell's basket with a trifecta from the top of the key to push the visitors' lead to nine, which only grew as time went on.

Medomak Valley outscored Belfast 6-3 in the final three minutes of the first half, and 31-13 between the third and fourth quarters to cruise to victory.