RHS off to 2-2 start, runner-up at CNDC
To finish the first week of the season at 2-2 without their top scorer, the Rugby High School girls proved that at full strength they will be able play with almost any basketball team.
Despite falling 36-33 to Harvey-Wells County in the CNDC championship game Dec. 6 at RHS, the Panthers played well throughout the tournament, picking up a blowout win over St. John and a tough 36-28 win over rival TGU.
“Right now, we have some youngsters playing a lot,” Jen Brossart said. “For our first week of basketball, I’m pleased with how we looked.”
RHS never led in the championship game, but kept it close throughout. Six-foot senior forward Alecia Koropatnicki led the Hornets with 18 points and the Panthers limited her supporting cast to same amount.
The Hornets built their largest lead of the day at 16-7 on a Koropatnicki hook with 4 minutes, 21 seconds left in the first half.
RHS leading scorer senior Darby Deckert (12) hit the first of her three 3-pointers with 13 seconds left in the half and H-WC led 16-12.
Deckert opened the second half with a 3-pointer and the deficit would bounce between a point and five points in the third quarter. The Hornets led by eight midway through the fourth quarter, but another Deckert 3-pointer got the Panthers within striking distance at 30-27 with 3:05 left.
“They’ve got a nice inside-out game,” H-WC coach Mary Fike said. “They’re very skilled and they don’t give up either.”
H-WC sophomore guard Kari Wolfe scored with 24 second left in the game for the final points. RHS called timeout with 16 seconds left and followed with a few shots including a pair of 3-point misses, one coming at the buzzer.
“We wanted the ball in Darby’s hands,” Brossart said. “They executed the play, we just didn’t convert on the shot.”
Deckert was still encouraged after the game after seeing her team grow during three days of tournament play.
“I think it’s really good to have different types of teams, but especially to play from behind to see what type of team you are and to show you won’t give up,” Deckert said.
Freshman forward Madison Uhlenkamp added 8 points for the Panthers.
RHS hosted Benson County on Thursday evening and play a rematch at Harvey on Tuesday.
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