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Panther girls stay undefeated after home ‘battle’

By Staff | Dec 20, 2019

Lori Gronvold for the Tribune Rugby’s Tesha Sobolik (no. 22) goes up for the ball against a pair of Hornet defenders Tuesday.

The Rugby Panther girls basketball team’s record stands at 6-0 after a home game Tuesday night against the Harvey-Wells County Hornets.

A game that included six ties and an equal number of lead changes, resulting in a 39-32 win.

Both teams were scoreless for over two minutes into the first quarter until the Hornets’ Kalyn Keller scored from outside the arc. Tesha Sobolik responded for the Panthers soon after, with a three of her own.

The Hornets would then take the lead, outscoring the Panthers 11-6 for a 14-9 lead at the end of quarter one.

Missed buckets and turnovers plagued both teams in the first half.

“This was a battle. It’s always a battle between Harvey and Rugby girls. I do believe at one time we probably had more turnovers than points,” said Panthers head coach Jen Brossart. “And at some point we got to stop blaming it on our youth and we gotta start accepting responsibility, and I think we’ll do that. We got to get better under control in the half-court circumstance. I think we’ve been too used to running the gauntlet as far as running transition and scoring, we’ve got to be able to learn to play in a half-court set.”

A two-for-two trip to the line from Mykell Heidlebaugh, followed later by a three-pointer from Sarah Blessum paved the way for the next tie of the contest in the second quarter.

The Panthers would get their first lead of the night with 3:14 left in the half after a successful trip to the foul line for Brooke Blessum. But it wouldn’t last long. With over a minute left to play, the Hornets would tie the game with a score from Maggie Raue. The Hornets would then briefly take the lead back with a bucket from Zoe McKinven. A bucket from Gabriella Sullivan tied the Panthers and Hornets 18-18 going into halftime.

Rugby and Harvey-Wells County would see a 20-20 tie in the first two minutes of the third quarter.

The Hornets briefly took back the lead following a 1-for-2 trip to the line for Jasmine Ripplinger – who scored all of the Hornets’ seven points on the quarter. But just seconds after the trip, Rugby would take the lead back again and outscore the Hornets 5-4 for a 28-25 lead at the end of three.

The Panthers opened the fourth quarter with a bucket from Brooke Blessum. However the Hornets tied things up again with a three-pointer and a bucket from Ripplinger.

However, a bucket from Heidlebaugh forced another lead change. Later, she would prove dangerous at the foul line with a three-point play and going 4-for-6 on three attempts at the line.

The Panthers got win number five last week in Minot, defeating Bishop Ryan 52-28.

I was very happy with how we played against Ryan,” said Brossart. “I thought we came out a little sluggish in the first quarter, but had a really good second quarter. Built a little bit of a lead. And then the third quarter I thought we came out really solid, scored 20 points. I thought we defended really well, we kept our turnovers to a minimum. I thought everybody contributed, it was a good team win.”

The Panthers will travel to Minot on Monday, Dec. 30, to take on the Flasher Bulldogs. The B squad will play in the Minot Armory at 4:45 p.m., and varsity will play at 6:30 p.m. at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

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