Reversal of fortune
Rugby girls basketball coach Jennifer Brossart has made it quite clear that just reaching the region tournament is no longer acceptable.
The Panther program must get past the first round, a feat that has not occurred since 2001.
That could change this week.
Rugby, a No. 2 seed, enters its Region 6 Tournament first round game on Monday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. in Minot against No. 3 Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood – a team it defeated earlier this season.
“We definitely know we can match up with them,’ said Brossart. “We’re not going to change a whole lot. We know we have to play a strong four quarter game to advance.”
The Panthers rallied from a three-point fourth quarter deficit to defeat the Mavericks 47-45 in Rugby. Crystal Hovland, Rugby’s top scorer, was held to just four points, and Brossart knows M-L-S is going to double down on her again in the post.
“We expect that, and we need to get other people involved (in the offense).” Senior Chelsea Halvorson and junior Emily Paul will be looked upon to provide perimeter scoring.
Brossart said the Mavericks top two players – Summer Romine and Jackie Miller – are going to get their points. The challenge is to not allow them to get on a roll.
“Of course they have three others players on the court we need to be aware of,’ she said.
For most of the season Rugby has kept its turnover numbers low, but struggled in that area at the recent district tournament. The team must limit unforced errors and do a better job boxing out in the paint.
“At this point of the season it comes down the team that is playing the best together,’ Brossart said. “Can we put together three good games? That is the challenge.”
If the Panthers can prevail in the first round, they likely would face No. 1 seed Kenmare in the semifinals on Feb. 23. Rugby nearly upset the Honkers in last year’s region tournament.
Picking a favorite at this season’s tournament is difficult. The two top seeds are Westhope-Newburg and Kenmare, but they have both been beaten this season. Bottineau defeated Kenmare eariler in the season. W-N has been involved in several close games against teams in the field.
The tournament kicks off on Feb. 22 with No. 1 Westhope-Newburg facing No. 4 Surrey at 3 p.m.; No. 2 Des Lacs-Burlington will face No. 3 Bottineau at 4:30 p.m. No. 2 Rugby vs. No. 3 M-L-S; No. 1 Kenmare will play No. 4 Velva at 7:30 p.m.
The semifinals will be played on Tuesday, Feb. 23, starting at 6 p.m. The third place and championship will be played on Thursday, Feb. 25.
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