Panther boys, girls defeat Mavericks
Panther fans braved snow and icy roads to travel to Mohall last Friday afternoon to watch their Rugby boys’ and girls’ basketball squads face the Mavericks at Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood High.
A sizeable contingent of Rugby High family and boosters filled the stands in the MLS gym as the girls took the court in the first game. Although the Lady Panthers’ game stat column so far this season shows nothing but Ws, the Lady Mavericks worked hard to put an end to that streak.
The first quarter began at a furious pace, with MLS High charging toward their forecourt, Panthers on their trail. The Panthers stayed on the Mavericks with their arms up, but remained on the outer edges of their territory, sinking only three two-point baskets and one three pointer from Maria Blessum. Anni Stier made good on her chance at the free throw line, scoring 2 points. The quarter ended with a razor-thin Panther lead, 11-10.
The Panthers continued their fight to stay on top in the second quarter, with both teams’ defenses allowing just three more points on each side, and the half ended with the Panthers ahead 14-13.
The Lady Mavericks stormed onto the court in the third quarter, keeping pressure on Rugby and sinking 4 more two-pointers. Maverick Leah Feland scored one free throw point. Rugby’s Karsyn Hager, Jordan Senger and Stier scored three more two-pointers, with Stier scoring 1 free throw point. But the quarter ended with a one point MLS lead 21 to 22.
The Panthers regrouped in the fourth quarter, with Brooke and Maria Blessum connecting with the basket for 3 three pointers and a 2 pointer. With a 26-26 tie score, Stier put the Panthers ahead by one point, and the team built on the lead and amped their defense, keeping the Mavericks to just 2 more points. The nail-biting game finished with a 35-28 Panther victory.
“I was happy with the way our team played,” noted Panther girls’ coach Jen Brossart, “but we shot terribly.”
Brossart described the team’s defense as “our mainstay. We told the girls that’s what’s important.”
Brossart said of some of the shots, which seemed at first not likely to sink: “Sometimes it’s the ugly shots that make it. I’m happy for our girls. The last game before Christmas, and Mohall’s got a good team, and I was happy for our defense. All in all, I was happy with the effort. “
The break between games featured plenty of school and Christmas spirit, and MLS students showed off ugly sweaters decorated with reindeer, colorful Santas, and blinking lights.
When the varsity boys took the court at 7 p.m., the Panthers had an easier time with their opponents.
Rugby’s Devan Michels, Trace Goven and Jaden Hamilton set things in motion with three point shots early in the first quarter. Goven sank 3 two-pointers, and Logan DeMontigny put 2 points on the board as well. Michels scored a free throw point. Mavericks Henry Savelkoul, Lucas Undlin and Isaac Undlin scored two point shots. Isaac Undlin made two trips to the free throw line, scoring 4 points total.
However, the Panthers dominated the game from the beginning, and their win margin widened in the second quarter. Goven, Hamilton and Kevin Vetsch sank more shots from the 3-point zone, and the Mavericks struggled to connect with the basket. By halftime, the Panthers led by a solid 49-27.
The third quarter saw the Panthers lead narrow slightly as the Mavericks came back with 3 pointers from Adam Southam, Riley Strand, Isaac Undlin and Dalton Moberg. Southam also scored 1 free-throw point, and the Mavericks added 22 total points to their score. However, the Panthers stayed on top, adding 17 points to their own lead, closing the 3rd quarter with a score of 66-49.
The Panthers continued their steady pace in the final quarter, with more 3-point shots connecting for Michels, and free throws from Vetsch and Hamilton sealing the deal for a 79-62 win.
Scoring on the boys’ squad for the evening were: Michels with 24 points, Hamilton with 20 points, Goven with 19 points, Vetsch with 11 points, and DeMontigny with 5.
Mavericks points went to Southam with 6, Strand with 6, Savelkoul with 8, Lucas Undlin with 8, Isaac Undlin with 20 and Moberg with 14 points.
Lady Panther score totals for the evening were: Stier with 10, Brooke Blessum with 9, Hager with 4, Mykell Heidlebaugh with 4, Sarah Blessum with 3, Maria Blessum with 3 and Senger with 2.
Scoring for the Lady Mavericks were: Feland with 8 points, Janie Savelkoul with 6 points, Madison Moberg with 4 points, Kylie Abernathy with 4 points, and Autumn Smith, Allison Undlin and Lauren Steeves with 2 points each.
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