Unranked Panthers upset Bearcats
In a weekend that was full of upsets, the Rugby Panthers pulled off one of their own.
They did so by defeating the, at the time, No. 5-ranked North Star Bearcats, 61-51, last week in a nearly-packed Charles Hanneman Gymnasium.
“We needed to perform well,” said Panthers head coach Mike Santjer. “We did that and then some.”
Junior guard Landen Foster got the Panthers on the board first with a bomb from outside. Over a minute later, the Bearcats would have a three of their own from senior forward Andrew Dugdale. The Bearcats then got their first lead of the night on a two-plus-one from Dugdale’s classmate and fellow forward Riley Lagasse. Panther seniors Cade Heilman and Anders Johnson fired back, with the latter giving the Panthers back the lead, albeit briefly. Senior guard Jayden Komrosky then snatched the lead back for the Bearcats, who had a three-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Komrosky opened the second on a three-point boomer. After a 1-for-2 payoff at the foul line for junior center Isaiah Johnson, the Panthers then tied things up briefly with senior forward Chris Griffin landing a boomer of his own. Komrosky then took the lead back on a three-point play. A last-ditch three-pointer by Lagasse put the Bearcats ahead by six to end the first half.
The Panthers came out shooting in the second half, finally taking the lead back on a 10-6 run that was both started and capped by Anders Johnson three-pointers. With center Tayden Thomas going 0-for-2 at the line, the Bearcats found themselves down by seven.
Both teams went scoreless for nearly a minute in the fourth quarter until freshman forward Trace Goven got one down for the Panthers. Seconds later Foster would find success at the line, sinking two but later missing an opportunity at a three-point play. The Bearcats were held scoreless until the 4:37 mark, with Komrosky getting his second three-pointer on the night.
“We thought we were in a good position to start the second half,” said Bearcats head coach Jesse Vote,”but it’s who can make shots and execute down the stretch [who wins].”
As of Monday the Bearcats are no longer ranked, but are receiving votes. The Panthers, who played at Nedrose High School on Thursday, were still unranked.