Panthers leading District 11
The Rugby High School girls basketball team is taking care of overmatched opponents the way a good team does.
The Panthers, tied for first place early in the District 11 season, improved to 9-2 overall and 3-0 in the district following Tuesday’s blowout of visiting Drake-Anamoose.
The young Raiders didn’t stand much of a chance against a feisty RHS side riding the confidence of one of the program’s best starts in years. RHS controlled all aspects of the game en route to an 84-33 win. The win came on the heels of a 52-25 win over district foe Westhope-Newburg on Jan. 9.
“Aside from years past, our defense has really stepped up,” RHS coach Jen Brossart said. “Our girls have tried to hold teams to certain values in quarters.”
RHS raced to a 23-6 lead after the first quarter against the Raiders, led by junior guard Shea Heidlebaugh. The talented inside-outside player shot 50 percent from the field and led all scorers with 20 points. Freshman forward Maddie Uhlenkamp had one of her strongest performances of the year with 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
“It really helped with the outside people looking in and for me,” Uhlenkamp said. “We had a lot of teamwork.”
Seniors Darby Deckert and Jacie Lovcik joined the double-figure scoring with 13 and 10, respectively.
Against the Sioux, Deckert led the team with 13 points and Uhlenkamp added 10. The Panthers led by just three points after the opening quarter, but outscored W-N 16-3 in the second quarter to pull away. The team was without leading scorer Heidlebaugh and sophomore forward Breanna Thompson due to illness.
“We got in foul trouble early, but it was a great opportunity to get a lot of girls playing time,” Brossart said.
The Panthers played a much-anticipated road game against fellow District 11 unbeaten Sawyer on Thursday (after deadline). The Flashes improved to 10-2 (2-0) with a 59-58 win over the Sioux on Monday.
“It’s very important to come out right away in the first half and play our game and then the start of the second half isn’t close,” Uhlenkamp said.
Brossart said the district is holding true to form though she sees TGU (3-7, 0-3) improving with injured sophomore forward Angie Anderson expected to return.
RHS plays again Tuesday, remaining on the road for a non-district game against Rolette-Wolford. The Panthers return home to face Bottineau on Friday.
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