Panther girls win first round, 79-41
Rugby High School senior Allison Volk was in step with fellow Panther Tanner Bernhardt last week.
The 5-foot-1 senior scored 21 points during the first round of the District 11 girls basketball tournament Feb. 28. All of her points came on 3-pointers, a night after Bernhardt lifted the boys team to a Region 6 title with six 3-pointers.
The Panther girls had the advantage of playing on their home floor, and they had an advantage over the Sawyer Flashes the whole game for a 79-41 win at Charles Hanneman Gymnasium.
“I thought our girls came out from the get-go and played four solid quarters,” RHS coach Jen Brossart said.
Said Volk: “We just got Jacie [Lovcik] and Shea [Heidlebaugh] back so we were just ready to go.”
Heidlebaugh returned from a more serious injury after her ankle turned in a Feb. 18 win over North Star.
To open play, Sawyer sophomore Paige Brabandt got the ball off a Panther turnover, one which quickly turned into a foul. Brabandt put up the first point in the game, but the Panthers recovered nicely. The Panthers had a 20-5 lead to end the first quarter, which was solidified by threes from Volk, Heidlebaugh and Deckert.
“For the most part our defense did well,” Brossart said. “We struggled a little bit during the first half. We made some adjustments at halftime and I think they came out and got ready to go.”
Brabandt led the Flashes in scoring, getting most of her 18 points in the first half. Following close behind her in scoring was senior Myrena Denelsbeck, who drained a huge three in the second quarter, and added 10 points from there.
“We didn’t box out real well,” Sawyer coach Justin Lauf said. “I thought (RHS) shot pretty well. They had a couple girls who stepped up big for them and did what they needed to do to get it done.”
The Panthers didn’t underestimate the Flashes or their semifinal opponent TGU.
“They’re a good team and they’re gonna come out and put the pressure on us,” Volk said.
Titans beat Drake-Anamoose
TGU proved insurmountable for Drake-Anamoose in the first round.
“It was a little lackluster at times, but we got the job done,” Titans coach Malcolm Marcus said.
Senior Akesha Juarez put up the first points of the game. The Titans didn’t look back from there, leading the Lady Raiders 16-4 at the end of the first quarter en route to a 45-29 win.
A big three from sophomore Sydney Seehafer helped put the Lady Raiders within double digits, but it was a low-scoring first half for the No. 8 seed.
“We need to shoot at a higher percentage. The defense is coming along, but (on) offense we need better shots,” D-A coach Tom Garrad said.
Seniors Mattie Schmitt and Juarez led the Titans in scoring with 18 points and 13 points, respectively. Senior forward Karley Volochenko and junior forward Amber Windish led the Lady Raiders in scoring with 8 and 7, respectively.
“We’re number one in our district,” Schmitt said. “We keep working on playing our game and improving.”
The Velva Aggies beat the Westhope-Newburg Sioux, 57-38, Friday evening. The Dunseith Dragons beat the Bottineau Stars 75-65.
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