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Breaking: Panther girls win first round, 79-41

By Staff | Feb 28, 2014

Rugby High School senior Allison Volk must’ve been taking notes from Tanner Bernhardt.

The 5-foot-1 senior scored 21 points during the first round of the District 11 girls basketball tournament Friday. All of her points came on 3-pointers a night after Bernhardt lifted the boys team to a Region title with six 3-pointers.

The Panther girls had the advantage of playing on their home floor, and they had an advantage over the Sawyer Flashes the whole game at Charles Hanneman Gymnasium.

“I thought our girls came out from the get-go and played four solid quarters,” RHS coach Jen Brossart said.

Said Volk: “We just got Jacie [Lovcik] and Shea [Heidlebaugh] back so we were just ready to go.”

The game started in an ugly way for the Panthers. Sawyer sophomore Paige Brabandt got the ball off a Panther turnover, one which quickly turned into a foul. Brabandt put up the first point in the game, but the Panthers recovered nicely. The Panthers had a 20-5 lead to end first quarter, which was solidified by 3s from Volk, Heidlebaugh and Deckert. RHS won 79-41.

“For the most part our defense did well,” Brossart said. “We struggled a little bit during the first half. We made some adjustments at halftime and I think they came out and got ready to go.”

Brabandt led the Flashes in scoring, getting most of her 18 points in the first half. Following close behind her in scoring was senior Myrena Denelsbeck, who drained a huge 3 in the second quarter, and added 10 points from there.

“We didn’t box out real well,” Sawyer coach Justin Lauf said. “I thought (RHS) shot pretty well. They had a couple girls who stepped up big for them and did what they needed to do to get it done.”

The Panthers face TGU for a shot at the championship at 6 p.m. today.

“They’re a good team and they’re gonna come out and put the pressure on us,” Volk said.

Said Brossart: “That’s the old cross-town rivalry, the 19-mile rivalry. It’s a friendly rivalry, but it’s one that both teams get after. It’s gonna be a hard-fought game.”

The Flashes face the Drake-Anamoose Lady Raiders at 3 p.m. for a shot at qualifying for the Region 6 tournament in Minot.

“They play zone,” Lauf said.. “We’re gonna try to get the ball up and down, move it up and play at a faster pace. If we can keep the pace fast, we’ll be successful.”

Titans beat Drake-Anamoose, 45-29

TGU proved to be insurmountable for the Drake-Anamoose in the first round of the District 11 girls basketball tournament Friday in Rugby.

“It was a little lackluster at times, but we got the job done,” Titans coach Malcolm Marcus said.

Senior Akesha Juarez put up the first points of the game. The Titans didn’t look back from there, leading the Lady Raiders 16-4 lead at the end of the first quarter.

A big 3 from sophomore Sydney Seehafer helped put the Lady Raiders within double digits, but it was a low-scoring first half for the No. 8 seed.

“We need to shoot at a higher percentage. The defense is coming along, but the offense we need better shots,” D-A coach Tom Garrad said.

Seniors Mattie Schmitt and Akesha Juarez led the Titans in scoring with 18 points and 13 points, respectively. Senior forward Karley Volochenko and junior forward Amber Windish led the Lady Raiders in scoring with eight points and seven points, respectively.

The top-seeded Titans will play Rugby for a shot at the championship round Saturday at 3 p.m.

“We’re just worried about advancing right now,” Marcus said. “It’s gonna be more intense, but we’re gonna have to bring our ‘A’ game, that’s for sure.”

“We’re number one in our district. We keep working on playing our game and improving,” Schmitt said.

The Lady Raiders play Sawyer at 3 p.m. for a shot at the regional qualifying round.

“Against Sawyer [in a previous game] we didn’t come out strong, and we need to. We got to come out and play a good defense and get our shots in,” Garrad said.

Other scores:

The Velva Aggies beat the Westhope-Newburg Sioux, 57-38, Friday evening. In the game following, the Bottineau Stars lost to the Dunseith Dragons, 75-65. The Aggies and the Dragons will face each other at 7:30 p.m. tonight for a chance at the championship round. The Sioux and the Stars will face off at 4:30 p.m. for a shot a the regional qualifying match.

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