Panther boys defeat Wildcats, 61-44
A slow start, full of mistakes gave way to a 61-44 victory in the first game of the season for the Rugby Panthers Monday in Leeds.
“We are still learning our offensive sets and will take some time for all players to learn a variety of positions,” said Panthers head coach Mike Santjer. “You could tell that were are not yet in game shape and broke down defensively because of it.”
Both the Panthers and the Benson County Wildcats were bit by the turnover bug early in a low-scoring first half (The Wildcats had over 30 on the night, and the Panthers more than 20.), and lane violations negated what could’ve been potential points at the free throw line.
“We had too many turnovers and didn’t rebound the ball very well for our size,” said Wildcats head coach Scott Lindgren,”and that really cost us as we gave possessions away and [the Panthers] created many extra possessions.”
The Panthers got on the board first with a long two from senior guard Anders Johnson. Classmate Chris Griffin would be the next to act, albeit from the free throw line. Griffin would lose one of his makes due to the first of six lane violations on the night.
The Wildcats were unable to respond until the 2:09 mark, with forward Carter Tandeski coming off the bench to score. Guard Spencer Olson would drill the first three-pointer of the game in the final seconds of the first quarter.
Tandeski then opened the following quarter, with Griffin providing the Panthers’ response less than a minute later. Griffin would later force a turnover and take it to the hoop, miss, but then Johnson came in with the rebound. The score would be 19-12 in the Panthers’ favor at the end of the first half.
Both the Panthers and the Wilcats came alive in the second half, each surpassing their first half output in the third quarter alone.
“I thought we played with great effort,” Santjer said.
Lindgren said: “It was a great game for us to start off with and to see just how much harder we have to work to compete with the better teams.”
The Panthers competed in the CNDC Tournament, which wraps up tonight. After that, the next action is a double-header in Mohall on Dec. 22; and a game against Beulah at Minot State University before the end of the year.