Panther boys basketball to play Monday
The Rugby Panther Boys basketball team will have their first game of the season Monday evening on their home floor.
Last year the Panthers’ season ended at the Region 6 tournament in a 53-38 first round loss to the Lewis & Clark-Berthold Bombers. The Panthers’ season ended with a 13-10 record overall, which included winning their fourth district title in five years.
The team lost seven players from last year’s team to graduation.
“The biggest thing that you lose is the experience of having played at the varsity level, along with their leadership in the locker room and at practices,” said Panthers head coach Mike Santjer.
This year, 19 are on the team, including key returners in Landen Foster, Isaiah Johnson and Trace Goven. Santjer said seniors Brock Haakenson and Seth Jaeger are eager to fill spots and help lead a young team.
“We have great senior leadership and we hope to show improvement each night out, so we will be playing our best basketball at tournament time,” Santjer said.
The Panthers play the Benson County Wildcats on Monday (game starts at 4:30 p.m. with C squad). They will stay in Rugby for the CNDC tournament, in which they play Rolla in the first round (7:30 p.m. Dec. 14). The week after there will be a double-header with the girls at home as well against Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood (Dec. 22 with the boys game starting at 7 p.m.) Other home games include Des Lacs-Burlington (Jan. 4), Nedrose (Jan. 18), Bottineau (Jan. 23), Velva (Jan. 30), and Four Winds-Minnewaukan (Feb. 6).
The Panthers will have their first game outside of Rugby on Dec. 29, when they play the Beulah Miners at the Minot Auditorium. Games on the road include Harvey-Wells County (Jan. 6), Westhope-Newburg (Jan. 9), North Star (Jan. 11), Towner-Granville-Upham (Jan. 26), Lewis & Clark-Berthold (Jan. 27 in Minot), Drake-Anamoose (Feb. 2), Bishop Ryan (Feb. 13) and Dunseith (Feb. 16).
“We are really inexperienced at the varsity level,” Santjer said, “so we’ll have to come out and be ready to play each night.”
The District 11 Tournament will be held Feb. 23, 24 and 26 in Bottineau this year.
“I am looking forward to the year and it should be fun to watch our young team grow throughout the year,” Santjer said.
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