Tyler Schmaltz had himself a good night.
A 6’3″ senior forward, Schmaltz became something of an inside man, scoring most of his 27 points from in the paint Tuesday in a 56-38 victory against the Westhope-Newburg Sioux.
“Without him, we’d have been in a real battle,” Panthers head coach Mike Santjer said. “We just didn’t have a lot of outside shooting. Most of our shots came from inside the paint, so we didn’t need to take a lot of outside shots.”
Junior forward Anders Johnson put up the first points of the game, but Schmaltz took the lead in scoring midway into the first with an inside jumper. Three minutes later Schmaltz scored on a 3-point play.
Sophomore guard Tate Wyman closed out the third quarter with a shot from the arc, putting the Sioux to within five points of the Panthers.
Schmaltz did most of his work in the second and third quarters, but senior forward Hunter Hager wasn’t too far behind. Hager emerged in scoring in the second quarter, almost scoring a 3-point play in the first 40 seconds. He followed that up mere seconds later and again one minute later on an inside turnaround jumper. Hager later scored nine points in the fourth quarter, where he was also 3-for-4 from the foul line.
The Panthers defense held the Sioux to just six points in the second quarter, with four of them coming from Wyman.
“It was kind of a tale of two halves for us,” said Sioux head coach Bob Beaudrie. “First half, offensively we tried to push too much. We weren’t really looking for open things, we weren’t really setting good screens. Defensively I thought we did okay. Second half, defensively I thought we broke down too many times, gave a few too many offensive rebounds. But we got our offense going a little bit.”
The Sioux offense got going with a couple of 3s from sophomore forward Logan Lamoureaux. Lamoureaux would later score 11 points in the fourth quarter, 8 of which came in the final minutes: an inside jumper, followed seconds later by a shot from the arc and another three in the final seconds.
PANTHERS DEFEAT HORNETS, 59-35
The last time the Panthers and the Harvey-Wells County Hornets were on the same court was in the first round of the CNDC Tournament in Rugby.
When the Panthers traveled to Harvey last week to face the Hornets on their home turf, they played a different game – one that led them to a 59-35 victory.
Johnson took the lead for the Panthers, scoring six of his 18 points on the night in the first quarter. Jarett Anderson provided a response for the Hornets two minutes into the game. Senior forward Ryan Michels then drilled a 3-pointer.
The first quarter then saw the lead change hands. Brian Fike would respond to Michels’ 3-pointer with one of his own just over a minute later. Benjamin Bertsch then sank one from outside to take the lead. Hager briefly took the lead back for the Panthers, but Steven Stutlien took it back again for the Hornets in the final seconds of the quarter.
Trevor Schimke started the second quarter with the Hornets still in the lead. Hager responded soon after, and Rugby would take over on scoring. Foster retook the lead on a 3-point shot. Johnson and Schmaltz had scores in the final seconds -Schmaltz from inside and Johnson from outside – to put the Panthers at a 31-18 lead to end the first half.
Bertsch would score 9 of his 14 points in the second half from outside.
Michels, Schmaltz and Johnson helped keep the lead for the Panthers. Michels scored six of his 17 points on the night in the third, including a jumper in the final seconds. Johnson drilled a shot from outside midway into the quarter. Schmaltz proved to be an inside man, scoring six of his 13 points on the evening from inside and was 1 for 2 from the foul line.
PANTHERS DEFEAT LAKERS, 54-39
After an up-and-down first quarter, a short-staffed Panthers squad was able to secure a lead, and a win, against the Des Lacs-Burlington Lakers, 54-39, at home.
The Panthers were without two of their usual starters; junior forward Chris Griffin was out with an ankle injury, and senior center Trevor Longie was out with a foot injury. Reserve player Hunter Allickson, a senior guard, was also out due to injury.
The Panthers were also under different leadership that evening, with assistant coach Brian Olson assuming game and practice duties due to head coach Mike Santjer hurting his back at practice Monday.
“I thought we played with really good effort the entire game, all 32 minutes, which with only five guys I was really, really happy about that,” Olson said.
Johnson opened the game the Panthers with a bomb from outside. Michels then took the lead, scoring six of his 20 points on the night.
The Lakers were plagued with troubles shooting and turning over the ball, and they weren’t able to respond until midway into the first, with junior guard Drew Pearson’s two shots at the foul line being the start of a 10-point run. Pearson and classmate Trey Erickson would deliver two three’s, and sophomore Eddie White Bear contributed four points to tie it up at 12-12.
Hager put the Panthers back in the lead to end the first quarter, shooting two from the foul line.
Hager went back to the line to score Rugby’s first two of 14 points on the second quarter. The Panther defense limited the Lakers in scoring to just single digits, with junior guard Mark Medalen scoring only three points from outside, Pearson with two and Erickson scoring his last two points of the game from the foul line.
The Panthers’ defense held the Lakers to single digits again in the third quarter. In the fourth the Lakers were able to score 11 points, including six from outside from junior Jarrett Vendsel.
“The ball stuck, we didn’t move the ball very well. We were half a step slow on defense,” Lakers head coach Doug Wagner said. “[I] give credit to Rugby, they were the aggressor and, generally speaking, that’s who is successful. We just played too much on our heels tonight [and I] hope it’s lesson learned.”
The Panthers played North Star Thursday, and they will face District 11 opponent Sawyer at home on Monday starting at 5:45 p.m.
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