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Breaking: Panther girls season ends at districts

By Staff | Mar 4, 2014

For a third place finish and a spot in the regional girls basketball tournament in Minot, either the Bottineau Stars or the Rugby Panthers needed a win. The Stars dashed the Panthers’ hopes of continuing the postseason.

“We had a chance to seal the deal, to put the proverbial nail in the coffin,” Brossart said. “They put a little heat on us, we turned the ball over a couple of times, and they hit some big three pointers. Our girls got a little rattled and couldn’t respond.”

Sophomore guard Shea Heidlebaugh and senior guard Allison Volk put up the Panthers’ only scores in the first quarter. Heidlebaugh scored four minutes into the game, and Volk put up a huge 3. It was senior guards Courtney Gallagher and Danielle McDonald who brought the momentum for the Stars, with Gallagher putting up the first points of the game and McDonald scoring a 3.

In the second quarter, the Panthers experienced a surge brought on by a pair of 3s from Heidlebaugh. Junior forward Jacie Lovcik put up her four points on the night, and sophomore guard Ashley Schmaltz put up her two points on the night that quarter. The Panthers were ahead by halftime, 23-16.

“We were a little slow in the first half. The girls played really hard and hustled,” Stars coach Joe Bender said.

McDonald said, “We just didn’t want our season to be over. We came out like we needed to.”

In the third quarter, the Stars started to rally. McDonald was able to hit a huge pair of 3s, not to be outdone by Volk and Heidlebaugh. Collectively, the Stars scored 19 points on the quarter, retaking the lead. Despite a couple of Panther stops at the foul line, the Stars continued their lead in the fourth quarter.

“It was a rollercoaster ride for this team,” Brossart said, “Towards the end of the season we had some nice games, there’s no doubt about that. But come tournament time you gotta turn it up a notch, regardless of what that regular season ends like.”

Earning a third place finish, the Stars are looking at what they need to improve on for regionals.

“We need to work on coming out better and sticking to what we know we’re good at,” Bender said

The Panthers’ girls basketball season may be over, but Coach Brossart already has a list of things to work on for next year.

“We saw glimpses of it, it’s there for next year. We have the people,” Brossart said. “In order for this team to be successful it has to get in the weight room, it has to get stronger. We have to develop a post presence and go from there.”

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