Bearcats Deal Panthers’ First Loss
The Rugby Panther girls basketball team was dealt its first regular season loss last week at home.
Center Macey Kvilvang, a 6’5″ junior, went 6-for-8 from the foul line and scored 18 points from inside to lead the North Star Bearcats to a 53-40 victory over the Panthers.
Kvilvang put up the first points just 19 seconds into the game, and Panthers’ senior guard Shea Heidlebaugh put up a response just seconds later. Classmate and fellow guard Ashley Schmaltz scored around the 4:30 mark.
The Bearcats then clinched the lead with a 3-pointer from junior guard Peyton Thompson.
The Bearcats opened the second quarter with sophomore guard Stephanie Miller scoring from inside and outside. The Panthers didn’t have a response until the 4:39 mark, with 3’s coming from Heidlebaugh and freshman shooting forward Karsyn Hager – who had 12 points on the night from outside.
The Panthers opened the second half with junior center Breanna Thompson going 1-for-2 from the charity stripe, and Schmaltz and Heidlebaugh each getting a score from outside.
The Bearcats maintained the lead with Kvilvang leading in scoring from inside. Senior forward Brenna Logie ended the third quarter with a 3-point play in the final fraction of a second.
Hager then opened the fourth quarter with her second of four 3-pointers. Her last 3-pointer of the night came with 40 seconds left in the game.
“We knew coming in tonight it would be a very tough game. Rugby’s a very good team, they’re led by Heidlebaugh who, in my mind, is an all-state player. We really focused in on her and Thompson, knowing a lot of their offensive sets are based around them, so we spent a lot of time this week practicing how to defend those screens,” Bearcats head coach Jill Vote said.
The Panthers struggled defensively on the night with boxing out, which the Bearcats took advantage of.
“We got girls that do the same thing night in and night out, and they don’t box out their girls and we have to be accountable for that,” Panthers head coach Jen Brossart said.
With the loss to the Bearcats, the Panthers fell in rank from number 2 in the state to number 4, behind 17-2 Watford City. Both the Panthers and the Bearcats sit with 18-1 records.
“We just got to come back to practice. That’s a great basketball team they just lost to,” Brossart said. “They got all the aspects you need: they’ve got great shooting, they’ve got great boxing out, and they got a great center: Macey Kvilvang. We knew this was going to be a battle, we talked about it before the game. I wanted these girls to compete and I think for the most part they did.”
The Panthers are competing in the District 11 tournament, which wraps up tonight.
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