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Panthers Win First District Bout

By Staff | Jan 8, 2016

Shea Heidlebaugh goes up for a jumper against TGU's Madison Bollinger Tuesday in Towner. The Panthers defeated the Titans, 53-28. (Photo by Lori Gronvold)

The Rugby High School girls basketball team (9-0) won its first district game Tuesday evening against the TGU Lady Titans (5-4), 53-28.

But it was far from pretty.

The Panthers had troubles with their outside game, making only one of several attempts from beyond the arc.

“For lack of a better word, we kind of had a terrible shooting night,” Panthers head coach Jen Brossart said. “I thought tonight our shooters were lacking some confidence. It’s the first district game and it’s against Towner, and it’s always a head-grinder for some of these girls.”

The Panthers got into foul trouble, sending multiple Titans to the free throw line.

“If we’re going to be an aggressive team, we got to be able to play defense with our feet, and not get in foul trouble and not send other teams to the line,” Brossart said.

The Titans had troubles with the Panther defense, whose pressure held the Titans scoreless in the second quarter and forced turnovers.

“I think that we played a pretty good first quarter. After that it kind of went downhill,” Lady Titans head coach Tyler Mack said. “That second quarter we didn’t score any points. It’ll happen and we worked through it.”

Rugby got the lead from the tipoff, with senior guard Shea Heidlebaugh driving into the lane for two. Heidlebaugh led in scoring on the night with 23 points overall, eight of which came in the first quarter. Sophomore center Maddie Uhlenkamp followed suit, scoring 5 in the first with three points coming from the free throw line.

The Titans weren’t able to respond until midway into the quarter, with junior Angela Anderson (13 points on the night) scoring two points after a failed trip to the line to shoot for two. Junior Lexi Zahn and senior Lizzy Black helped chip a 10-point lead down to just three to end the first.

The Panthers started pulling away, scoring 12 points in the second quarter.

After being held scoreless in the second quarter, the Titans offense showed up in the third, starting things with a 3-point play from Anderson. Senior Madison Bollinger (7 points), who was shut down in the first half, put four points on the board. The Panthers’ stingy defense held the Titans to scoring a combined 15 points in the second half – 9 points in the third quarter and 6 in the fourth.

“Rugby’s a pretty good team, and I think defensively we showed that we are able to compete at least a little bit,” Mack said.

The Panthers’ played Westhope-Newburg on Friday and will travel to Drake on Monday. Both the Sioux and the Raiders are District 11 opponents.

The District 11 girls basketball tournament will take place Feb. 11-13 in Rugby.

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