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Panthers Lose to Indians By Three

By Staff | Feb 12, 2016

Ryan Michels tries to stop a long shot from Four Winds' Tronis McKay (Lori Gronvold).

The Rugby Panthers came very close.

In a fast-paced 61-58 battle with the no. 1-ranked Four Winds-Minnewaukan Indians in Rugby, the Panthers had a 1-point lead to end the first half.

“We knew that’s Four Winds’ strength,” Panthers head coach Mike Santjer said of the pace. “We average 54 possessions a game, they average close to 80 possessions a game. They like to press you, they like to get the possessions high and speed up the pace of the game. We knew it was going to be that tempo, we prepped the kids and gave them a scouting report and they kind of bought into it and did what we want them to do.”

But the Indians took the lead back again on a bucket from senior center Koltin ThreeIrons and went on a 10-point run in the third quarter while the Panthers were held to eight points-four of them coming from the charity stripe.

“We came out and had a bad about 3 and a half, 4 minutes in the third quarter. If we don’t do that, maybe we don’t dig ourselves quite a whole to dig our way out of,” Santjer said.

A 3-pointer from Panthers’ junior forward Chris Griffin, followed by a 1-for-2 trip to the foul line for Indians senior guard Jason Feather, and then followed by a inside shot from Panthers senior forward Ryan Michels-all within the final seconds of the game-put the final score in Four Winds’ favor.

“Rugby played a great game. They played a great defensive game, they attacked the rim, made us shoot from outside. I give Rugby a lot of credit for coming and playing a tremendous game tonight,” said Indians head coach Rick Smith. “On the other hand our game we didn’t attack the rim, we took way too many 3-point shots, we didn’t do the basic fundamentals of a basketball game, plain and simple. We put ourselves in that position.”

For a little over two minutes, both squads held each other scoreless. Junior forwards Anders Johnson and Tronis McKay then put up two points apiece for their respective squads. The Panthers and the Indians were neck-and-neck with senior forward Hunter Hager putting up a score, and McKay providing the Indians’ response.

McKay then took the lead on a 1-for-2 trip to the charity stripe. Johnson took it back for the Panthers 46 seconds later. The Indians took it back again with the first of three bombs from outside for Feather. Panthers sophomore guard Landen Foster responded back with the first of his own three 3-pointers on the night. Feather hit his second 3-pointer in the final seconds to end the first quarter 16-14.

Feather opened the second quarter with his third 3-pointer to give the Indians a 1-point lead, which Michels then took back. Hager then went to the foul line nine seconds later to shoot two. Indians junior guard Steve Redfox then hit a 3-pointer to tie the game, and junior forward Jacob Yankton hit one 90 seconds later for a 3-point lead. Hager then scored in the paint, as did Griffin to get a 1-point lead back.

PANTHERS BEAT RAIDERS, 40-34

The Panthers came from behind in the second half to defeat the Drake-Anamoose Raiders, 40-34 last week in Drake.

Both squads were scoreless for over two minutes until juniors Trey Windish and Brett Filler each put down two. Rugby wasn’t able to respond until the 4:39 mark with Johnson from inside, followed by a 3-pointer from Michels to briefly take the lead. Raiders senior forward Lee Reinowski took the lead back on a trip for two from the charity stripe.

The first half ended with trips to the foul line for Griffin and for Raiders’ big man and NDSU signee Cordell Volson (senior-center) to put the score at 15-18.

Michels then opened the second half with a score. Foster later tied the game with a 3-pointer, and Michels was able to hit a three to take the lead. Windish then tied the game from in the paint. Panthers senior forward Tyler Schmaltz then retook the lead in the final seconds of the third quarter.

The Panthers travel to Minot on Tuesday to face the Bishop Ryan Lions (with C squad starting at 4:30 p.m.).

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