Panthers turn on the heat

Written by Paul Harder, The Observer November 16, 2009 02:34 pm

Congratulations to the Imbler Panthers volleyball team on its latest state title.

The senior-laden team made some steam in Forest Grove by turning the temperature up one degree.

This year the Panthers are sporting black team shirts with 212 printed on the front.

For those without a physics degree, or those whose elementary education seems like a distant memory, that’s the temperature water boils.

Last season, the Panthers went to a team camp and saw a video called “212 Degrees of Motivation.’’

Since then Imbler has watched the video before coming out on the floor each match.

It paid off last season with a state title, and made for a sweet closing season for seven seniors.

Water is just hot at 211 degrees, but it boils at 212 degrees. The idea is that one extra degree of effort can separate the good from the great.

And judging by the 30-3 regular season record, it’s working. Imbler won 88 games this season and lost 14.

In fact, the Panthers held wins over the two teams —- Salem Academy and Blanchet Catholic — that played for the Class 2A championship this season.

The Panthers swept each match at Pacific University, including winning six of the nine games by 10 points or more.

It was an interesting rematch of last year’s state title game. The Panthers proved without a doubt they're the best team in the state.

Imbler swept second-place Helix three times on the season. Last year Imbler went 2-1 against the Grizzlies, going five games in two of the matches.

It also gives the Panthers two consecutive wins against Helix at the state tournament after falling in the 2007 battle for third and fifth place.

The talented seniors led the way.

Sarah Bowers-Ott and Kira Poe overpowered Helix at the net with 17 and 11 kills, respectively.

Bowers-Ott added 10 digs, a team-high.

Senior Reva West dished out 30 assists and recorded 11 digs.

Now, can these seniors keep the heat up with another encore from last season by winning another state title in basketball?

A win against Joseph at Baker High School clinched the state title.

We'll find out March 6.