Panther girls take second
For three quarters, the Rugby Panthers had the lead in the championship round of the District 11 Girls Basketball tournament in Bottineau.
However a 9-2 run by the Velva Aggies in the third quarter made that lead tenuous. A late push in the fourth then allowed the Aggies to come away with both the game and a district title for the first time since 2013.
“This [was] a great defensive battle,” said Panthers head coach Jen Brossart.
Both the Aggies and the Panthers were plagued by missed buckets in a low-scoring first quarter, with the first points of the game for either team coming after nearly two minutes of play on a 2-for-2 trip to the charity stripe for Senior Athlete of the Year award winner Anni Stier. Emma Passa would provide the Aggies’ response with a 2-for-2 trip of her own.
“Passa’s a good ball player,” said Brossart. “You take her out of the game it makes a big difference.”
Aggies center Rachel Mack would provide her squad’s sole bucket of the quarter, while Stier, classmate Maria Blessum and center Brooke Blessum would finish out the quarter on a 7-point run.
Karsyn Hager would open the ensuing quarter with a 1-for-2 trip to the foul line. The Aggies would then go on a 7-2 run to briefly take the lead back. After a second 2-for-2 trip from Stier, the Panthers would outscore the Aggies 8-4 for a 20-15 lead at halftime.
The Panthers were unable to get on the board for nearly six minutes in the third quarter, and would score six points (four of them from Hager) to keep a tenuous 26-24 lead.
Velva would then snatch the lead away on two brief 4-2 runs for a 32-30 final score.
The day before, the Panthers dismantled the Westhope-Newburg Sioux after getting a first round breather.
The Panthers worked up an 18-7 lead by the end of the first quarter (nine of them coming from Stier), and widened the gap to 29-13 by halftime. A 17-4 third quarter and a bucket after set the stage for a running clock fourth quarter–in which the Sioux’s attempts at the foul line proved unsucessful.
Region 6 seeding
With districts out of the way, Region 6 tournament play starts Monday, Feb. 18.
The first game of the tournament (3 p.m. start) will feature the top seed out of District 12, the Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood Mavericks, against District 11’s no. 4-seed Towner-Granville-Upham Titans.
In the second game (slated for 4:30 p.m.) the Panthers will take on District 12 no.3-seed Bishop Ryan Lions.
The Aggies will take on the District 12 no. 4-seed Lewis & Clark–Berthold Bombers in game three (6 p.m.).
And in game four, the District 11 no. 3-seed Sioux will take on the District 12 runner-up Des Lacs-Burlington Lakers.
‘We got to get things going offensively again,” said Brossart. “Sometimes I think we rely too much on our defense, and we got to get some other girls involved.”
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