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Girls win ticket to region final

By Staff | Mar 12, 2012

The basketball team that the Rugby coaching staff has been saying all year has the ability to play well and that it was just a matter of putting it all together, did it. The Lady Panthers not only won the first game of the Region 6 Tournament, they won the second game, too. As the Tribune went to press, Rugby’s Girls Basketball Team was one game away from going to the ‘Big Show’ in Bismarck.

As the Region 6 Tournament started on Monday, March 5, the Rugby Lady Panthers were vying for the win against the Glenburn Lady Panthers.

“Both teams came to play,” said Rugby’s Coach Jen Brossart. “Glenburn is a very good team.”

She added that Rugby played very well, but could have rebounded more.

Senior Leigha Schmaltz and eighth grader Taylor Wangerin each had a good game. Junior Aubrey Hovland was the lead scorer with 18 points.

Senior Abbey Paul, who has been the team’s most consistent player all season, did a great job with defense.

“Abbey’s such a great defender,” said Brossart.

Rugby won the game 54-45. That first game was their first hurdle to get over. Some teams in the past had difficulty with that, but the girls last year won their first game to break that curse. Now, the 2012 team has won the second game of the Region play.

In the second of their games, it was the Lady Panthers versus the Lady Knights. Both teams started out well. By the end of the first quarter, Our Redeemer’s was ahead 10-8. From there Rugby picked up the pace and by half-time the score was 27-21 in favor of the Lady Panthers. The Lady Knights fought back the third quarter, coming within 3 points of Rugby. In the fourth quarter, the Lady Panthers answered back and the final score was 46-36.

Senior Abbey Paul led with two 3-pointers in the first half, however, she ran into a little foul trouble, too, garnering 3 fouls in that first half. She ended up tying with Taylor Wangerin for lead scorer at 14 points each by the end of the game. Wangerin had 12 rebounds, as well. Aubrey Hovland made 8, Leigha Schmaltz 6 points along with 11 rebounds, Shea Heidlebaugh 2 and Darby Deckert 2.

With the championship game against Minot Ryan a day away, the Rugby coaching staff was preparing the girls to face their opponent with confidence. The Lions have a better season record, 23-1, and beat Rugby 67-50 in December. However, the slate is wiped clean at tournament time and anything can happen. It is time for the Rugby girls to build on the momentum they have created and go all the way.

“We have to play great defense,” said Brossart. “We need to be consistent and outscore them.”

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