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Rugby rallies late to knock off ORCS

By Staff | Dec 30, 2016

Mark Jones/MDN Our Redeemer’s Christian School’s Lauren Hendrickson drives behind the screen of teammate Cara Steede as Rugby’s Breanna Thompson comes out to defend. Rugby defeated ORCS 52-48.

Some will say a good start in any sporting contest can make the difference between winning and losing.

And while that it is true, a strong finish to a contest can often lift a team from the jaws of defeat to the thrill of victory.

The Rugby girls basketball team closed out its nonconference contest with Our Redeemer’s Christian School Wednesday afternoon with a 8-0 run to hand the Knights a 52-48 loss at the Minot State Dome as part of the one-day ORCS Invitational.

The Panthers did just enough to keep the contest close, and prevent ORCS (5-1) from pulling away.

“That’s the kind of team we will be this season,” Rugby coach Jen Brossart said.

And it seemed as though ORCS was well on its way to avenging a pair of double-digit losses last season to the Panthers.

The Knights raced out to a 15-8 lead after the opening period. ORCS was sparked in the opening period by the play of junior Karlee Zablotney, who scored eight points in the opening period.

But then the Panthers (8-1) used a 17-13 edge in the second stanza to start chipping away at the deficit.

Rugby junior Whitney Gronvold came up with consecutive baskets late in the second to help Rugby tie it at 23-23. ORCS junior Karolynn Winger, however, countered with five straight points to help the Knights take a 28-25 lead into intermission.

The Panthers continued to chip away at their deficit in the third. Rugby outscored ORCS in the period 12-10 to trail 38-37, entering the final eight minutes. Junior Madison Uhlenkamp scored six points in the third for Rugby.

In the final period, it seemed as though Rugby wasn’t going to be able to get over the hump.

Senior Lauren Hendrickson drained a 3-pointer to give ORCS a 41-37 lead. Moments later, senior Morgan Olson, who was limited to 11 points, drained a jumper to give the Knights a 43-38 lead.

And after Hendrickson hit a pair of free throws, ORCS held a 48-44 lead with less than two minutes to play.

Following a timeout, Rugby sophomore Karsyn Hager hit a 3-pointer to pull the Panthers to within 48-47. After ORCS missed a jumper, the Panthers came back down and got a basket from Uhlenkamp to give Rugby a 49-48 lead, and the Panthers first lead of the contest since 3-2.

Uhlenkamp then hit 3 of 4 from the charity stripe in the final seconds to help ice the win for Rugby.

“We had a couple of turnovers and missed shots,” ORCS coach Scott Peterson said. “And those will cost you in those games.”

Uhlenkamp finished with 22 points, including 16 in the second half. Thompson also added seven points.

“They started to feel it,” Brossart said of her two post players. “Breanna is a senior and was disappointed at how last season ended. She wants more.”

Zablotney finished with 12 points in the loss for ORCS, while Hendrickson finished with 10.

“This is a big win,” Brossart said. “We played a high-caliber, very classy team. It’s a great game on the schedule. But they know we got a lot of (season) left.”

Mark Jones covers high school sports and general assignments for the Minot Daily News. Follow him on Twitter @MarkJones27_MDN.

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