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Panther girls win, 44-42, in opener

By Staff | Dec 6, 2019

The Rugby Panther girls basketball team got to a 1-0 start on the 2019-20 season.

But it involved coming from behind.

Turnovers and misses at the free throw line plagued both the Panthers and the Benson County Wildcats Monday evening in Leeds. The Panthers shot 46 percent from the line, while the Wildcats shot for 69 percent.Quinn Neppl put up the first points of the game in favor of the Wildcats after 35 seconds in the first quarter. The Panthers would not have a bucket of their own for nearly three minutes after that.

The first quarter would end with the Wildcats up 17-11.

The second quarter would see Anna Johnson get her second three-pointer of the night to open the quarter. Also, for a moment, both teams would be tied 19-19. However the Wildcats would score four more points to the Panthers’ two to remain ahead 23-21 at halftime.

The third quarter would see the Panthers take the lead for the first time in the game, albeit briefly, with Sarah Blessum going 2-for-2 on a trip to the free throw line. Minutes later the lead would go the other way, with Neppl going 2-for-2. Then the lead would go back to the Panthers with a three-point play from Mykell Heidlebaugh.

At the end of the quarter, the scoreboard tilted 34-31 in favor of the Panthers.

The fourth quarter would see Neppl open on a 1-for-2 trip to the free throw line. Brooke Blessum provided a Panther rebuttal with a layup just seconds later.

With 3:58 to go in the game, both teams would see another tie due to a Wildcat three-pointer from McKenna Tofsrud. Sarah Blessum would take the lead back for the Panthers after a trip to the free throw line.

The Panthers would outscore the Wildcats 5-4 for the remaining three minutes and walk away with a 44-42 victory to start the season.

The Panthers traveled to Harvey Thursday to play the Drake-Anamoose Raiders in the first round of the CNDC Tournament. The tournament continues today in Harvey.

– Tribune Staff Report

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