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Rugby Panthers at the big dance

By Staff | Mar 27, 2015

(Tribune Note: The following is a revised edition of an article that appeared in the March 21 issue of the Tribune and a previous version on the Tribune website – which has since been deleted. In the prior edition, LLM was misidentified as “LaMoure-Litchfield-Marion”. The Tribune regrets any and all errors.)

The Rugby Panthers made it through the District 11 and Region 6 tournaments. But now they’re in the big dance as the best of the best from eight regions face off at the State Class B Boys Basketball tournament, which started Thursday at the Bismarck Civic Center.

The Panthers faced the Parshall Braves in the first round of the tournament. The winner of that game then faced the winner of the match between the Oak Grove Grovers and the May-Port CG Patriots on Friday evening for a Saturday championship berth.

Panthers coach Mike Santjer said they scouted the Braves in preparation for Thursday’s game, as they have height from inside.

“It’ll be a good game no matter what,” Santjer said.

The Panthers worked on some skill adjustments at practices earlier in the week.

“We need to tighten up on our defense a little bit. On offense, we need to make sure everyone’s on the same page and that we’re getting the best looks,” Santjer said.

To get to the state tournament, the Panthers defused the Berthold Bombers, 55-50 in regulation, after a late foul sent junior Hunter Hager to the free throw line for two in the final seconds of the Region 6 Championship round.

STATE QUALIFIERS FROM OTHER REGIONS

In Region 1, the Grovers defeated the Enderlin Eagles, 66-51, to advance to state. Last year the Panthers incurred their only loss on the season to the Grovers at the state championship.

The Patriots prevailed over the Cavalier Tornadoes in a close 32-31 bout in Region 2, while the LaMoure-Litchville-Marion Loboes defeated the Oakes Tornadoes, 45-43, in Region 3.

Last year, the Four Winds-Minnewaukan Indians lost to the North Star Bearcats in the Region 4 championship. The Indians avenged that loss, 70-57, this year. The Panthers and the Indians are no strangers to each other on the court, the latter handing the former its second loss on the season this year.

The Indians played the Shiloh-Christian Skyhawks Thursday evening in Round 1 play.

The Skyhawks trampled the Solen Sioux, 55-47, in Region 5. In Region 7, the New England Braves defeated the Dickinson Trinity Titans, 58-48. In another 10-point victory, Parshall defeated the New Town Eagles, 63-53, in Region 8.

State basketball stories will be published nightly as the tournament progresses online at www.thepiercecountytribune.com, and in the March 28th issue.

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