Panther girls win road rematch
Defense was the order of the day for both the Rugby Panthers and Harvey-Wells County Hornets Tuesday evening in a rematch of the championship round of the CNDC Girls Basketball Tournament in Harvey.
Both teams came out on defense in the first quarter, with no score for either for nearly three minutes of play. The Panthers then took the lead on a 6-0 run.
The scoring drought continued for the Hornets until the 2:25 mark, with center McKayla Jones going 2-for-2 at the charity stripe.
The Panthers would score three more points, courtesy of senior guard Anni Stier, before the end of the quarter, while Hornets senior guard Jaye Fike would get two buckets in the final seconds. The Panthers would end the quarter with a 9-6 lead.
In the second quarter the Panthers would see a contribution in scoring from returning senior guard Maria Blessum. Blessum sat out all three games of the CNDC tourney and a home game against the Bishop Ryan Lions just days earlier. Blessum had left the season opener due to injury.
Panthers head coach Jen Brossart said Blessum’s return was a decision made in the 24 hours preceding the game.
“She felt she was ready,” said Brossart. “We told her she had to be careful. For the most part she did okay. She brings a lot of inspiration and a lot of wisdom to this basketball team, and I think that helped a lot tonight.”
Both teams would hold each other to nine points scored in the second quarter, with the Panthers going into the locker room with a three-point advantage still on the scoreboard.
The Panthers would have a breakout third quarter in the contest, scoring 12 points while holding the Hornets to just three all of them coming from Jones who was 3-for4 from the charity stripe on two attempts just a minute apart from each other.
Stier would have a huge game with 10 of her 22 points on the night scored in the third.
“When she (Stier) attacks the glass, it makes us a whole different ball team,” said Brossart.
Both teams would hold each other to single digit scores again in the fourth quarter, and the game would end 39-26 in the Panthers’ favor.
Panthers devour Lions
Days earlier the Panthers routed a Region 6 rival in the Bishop Ryan Lions, 59-32, at Rugby High School.
The Panthers worked up an 18-6 lead to end the first quarter. Despite missing layups, the Panthers would later go on a 9-0 run with three three-point makes from Karsyn Hager. The Panthers outscored the Lions 14-11 before halftime.
The Panthers then outscored the Lions 24-6 to force a running clock fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter the Lions outscored the Panthers 9-3, with the Panthers’ scoring coming from Stier and Gabi Sullivan at the foul line.