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Panther girls season ends at districts

By Staff | Mar 11, 2014

Lori Gronvold/PCT Rugby High School junior guard Darby Deckert drives to the hoop during a District 11 tournament game against TGU on March 1 at RHS.

For a third-place finish and a spot in the Region 6 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 in a 48-45 regional-qualifier Monday at RHS.

“We had a chance to seal the deal, to put the proverbial nail in the coffin,” Panthers coach Jen Brossart said. “They put a little heat on us, we turned the ball over a couple of times and they hit some big 3-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 three. It was senior guards Courtney Gallagher and Danielle McDonald who brought the momentum for the Stars. Gallagher scored the first points of the game and McDonald hit a three.

In the second quarter, the Panthers experienced a surge brought on by a pair of threes 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 led 23-16 at the half.

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

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

In the third quarter, the Stars rallied. McDonald hit a huge pair of threes, not to be outdone by Volk and Heidlebaugh. The Stars scored 19 points in the quarter to retake the lead. Despite a couple of Panther stops, 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’ season may be over, but 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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