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Boys blasts timid Braves

By Staff | Jan 30, 2015

Lori Gronvold/PCT Rugby High School senior guard Eric?Hooker looks to score over Bottineau freshman Max Henry.

For the Rugby Panthers (11-1 overall, 4-0 District 11), it proved just another game. For the Bottineau Braves (5-7, 2-2), on the other hand, it was one of their worst losses this season. With a major player in senior Zach Miller back on the floor, the Panthers rolled right over the Braves.

“It was like getting punched in the mouth,” Braves coach Nate Simpson said. “I thought we’d get back up and fight but it looked like we curled up and tried to hide.”

Senior forward Brad Heidlebaugh led the Panthers in scoring for the game with 19 points, followed by senior guard Tanner Bernhardt with 14. On the Braves’ side, Parker Englehardt, Bottineau’s usual leading scorer, was kept to only four points and the rest of the team couldn’t pick up the slack. Senior Jacob Kvernum led the Braves with 7 points.

“We played good team ball and made easy shots,” Panthers coach Mike Santjer said. “We played good transition defense and forced a few turnovers and got an easy look.”

On one of these easy looks, Heidlebaugh threw down a thunderous two-handed slam with two-and-one-half minutes left in the third quarter.

Fouls were low when compared to other games. Against Surrey on Jan. 19, Rugby had 26 personal fouls called against them. Against Des Lacs-Burlington, 14 personal fouls were whistled on the Panthers. This game, a mere nine were called and only two players, senior Nolan Hovland and Heidlebaugh, had more than one foul.

After an appendix removal benched him for a couple weeks, Miller was a little sluggish in his first game back. Only scoring eight points, he played more as team player without worrying about putting up big numbers.

“It wasn’t easy,” Miller said. “At times it got a little hard to breathe. It was really easy to tell I was out of shape, but it didn’t matter. I was having fun.”

The No. 2-ranked Panthers’ play No. 4 Berthold Bombers (12-1) from District 12 today at the Minot Auditorium. RHS played district foe TGU (6-6, 2-1) on Friday.

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