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RHS boys crush MLS in doubleheader

By Staff | Jan 31, 2014

Rugby High School junior guard Tanner Bernhardt soars over a pair of Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood defenders on Jan. 25 at Minot Municipal Auditorium.

MINOT – Brad Heidlebaugh set the pace with 15 points in the first quarter as the Rugby High School boys basketball team rolled to a 67-32 win over Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood on Jan. 25.

Heidlebaugh finished with a game-high 21 points with RHS playing as the home team at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. The No. 2 Panthers held MLS to just two points in the third quarter and the RHS bench received big minutes in the second half.

Freshman Anders Johnson led the substitutes with nine points followed by eight from sophomore Hunter Hager.

“It was one of those games where we could get a lot of guys in who don’t see a lot of playing time in a normal varsity game,” RHS coach Mike Santjer said. “Hunter came in, played a good game, worked pretty hard inside and then just some other guys. We’re still at that point where we’re trying to figure out who’s gonna step up and play some games. Anders Johnson did a good job in the late minutes. Nolan Hovland did a nice job.”

Hager attributed the team’s high-energy performance to the emotion still present from a convincing 66-42 win over No. 5 Des Lacs-Burlington the night before.

Rugby High School junior guard Darby Deckert shoots over Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood guard Sierra Smith on Jan. 25 at Minot Municipal Auditorium.

“My job is to come in with a bunch of energy, hit the boards hard,” Hager said. “I’m not a scorer, so I gotta get the garbage points and work hard.”

Junior guard Tanner Bernhardt was the only other Panther in double figures with 14. MLS was led by senior Jess Asheim’s 12 points.

Santjer saw a mixed bag from his team, but was pleased overall.

“Hunter was pretty excited,” Santjer said. “He put in some valuable minutes last night for us, so it was kind of a mix. A lot of guys were tired and some were excited to get out and play.”

MLS coach Matt Undlin said RHS exposed his team in most facets of the game and described Heidlebaugh as an “amazing athlete.”

“The one thing that they do so well is they handle the ball and they can push it down the floor without turning it over and that’s our weakness right now,” Undlin said. “Their ball pressure caused all these turnovers.”

Girls struggle with MLS

movement in loss

The RHS girls didn’t fare as well in the opener of the MLS doubleheader. The Mavericks screened and screened and the Panthers couldn’t keep up.

Senior guard Sierra Smith scored a game-high 23 points to lead MLS to a 52-40 win. Smith was beneficiary of many strong setups down low as the Mavericks curled off countless post-to-post screens to set up easy scoring opportunities.

“They’re consistent,” RHS coach Jen Brossart said. “They run the same thing, year in and year out. We knew what was coming and we just didn’t execute. The girls were definitely prepared for it ahead of time; just poor execution, defensively. They didn’t stick to defensive strategy, which they learned a long time ago and it eventually caught up with them.”

RHS led 13-12 after the first quarter, but MLS steadily took control from there. Smith scored nine points in the second quarter.

“We just decided we really wanted to win,” Smith said. “We just put it in our head and we did it. We settled down and us captains stepped up and we took care of business.”

MLS started the second half on an 11-2 run to take a double-digit lead. RHS junior McKenzie Johnson scored early in the fourth quarter to get the Panthers within five points, but that was the closest they got. The MLS lead hit 14 on two occasions late.

“The main thing was that we did not play weakside defense at all and that threw us off,” RHS sophomore Shea Heidlebaugh said. “We had no help defensively and we had troubles getting off screens. We’re gonna work more on that at practice, getting off the screens and (playing) weakside-help defense.”

Heidlebaugh and junior Darby Deckert led the Panthers with nine points each.

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