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Basketball teams get wins at Hoopster classics

By Staff | Jan 3, 2020

Alex Eisen/MDN Rugby guard Warren Walker (right) drives to the basket while being guarded by Beulah guard Trapper Skalsky.

How the Rugby Panther boys basketball team would fare in a game after the Christmas holiday was an unknown to coaching staff.

“It’s one of those deals where you kind of roll the dice and see,” said Panthers head coach Mike Santjer.

The dice rolled in Rugby’s favor as the Panthers won 64-49 over the Beulah Miners last week at the 2019 Hoopster Classic at the Minot State University Dome.

The Panthers struck first with a score from Trace Goven. The Miners briefly snatched away the lead after a three-point play from Jonah Larson. However a three-pointer from Jaden Hamilton (the first of four on the game) put the Panthers back up. The end of the first quarter would see the Panthers up 26-15 over the Miners.

The second quarter would see the Miners outscore the Panthers 16-13 with a three-point play, two three-pointers and three different 1-for-2 trips to the line for three different players. The Panthers would see Warren Walker get six of his 10 points on the night at close range, and Devan Michels get his second of three three-pointers on the night for a 39-31 lead at halftime.

The Panthers outscored the Miners 13-7 in the third quarter, with nine of those points coming from Michels, Hamilton and Isaiah Bundy-Smith shooting from outside the arc.

The Panthers continued to outscore the Miners 12-11 in the fourth quarter.

“When we kept the tempo of the game moving, we were able to score and we looked really good offensively,” said Santjer. “When we can play fast, and hopefully we get to that shape, our offense should continue to look good.”

The Panthers hosted the Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood Mavericks in a home double-header with the girls on Friday.

The Panther boys ranked third in Monday’s latest N.D. Associated Press Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association poll.

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Basketball teams get wins at Hoopster classics

By Staff | Jan 3, 2020

Alex Eisen/MDN Rugby's Mykell Heidlebaugh (left) tries to get around Flasher's Coral Alt Monday at the Girls Hoopster Classic at the Minot Auditorium.

A run in the fourth quarter led to an overtime first for the Panther girls.

It led to a win Monday over the Flasher Bulldogs at the Girls Hoopster Classic Monday evening at the Minot Municipal Auditorium.

Flasher struck first in the game. The Panthers then took the lead with a three-pointer from Brooke Blessum. After a second three-pointer from Blessum, the Bulldogs would score six unanswered points to take a 12-6 lead by the end of the first.

In the second quarter, the Panthers outscored the Bulldogs 15-12 and trimmed the deficit to just three points before halftime.

In the third quarter, the Bulldogs widened the gap. For a few minutes during the quarter, the gap was as large as 14 points. The Panthers then trimmed the gap to seven points with unanswered scores from Blessum and Anna Johnson in the final minute of play in the quarter.

The Panthers opened the fourth quarter with a bucket. The Bulldogs responded with a three-pointer from Camryn Alt just over a minute later.

The Panthers then netted eight unanswered points to tie the game 38-38.

With just over three minutes left in regulation, Sarah Blessum went for a loose ball and collided with a Flasher defender. The resulting hard fall sent her to the floor. After receiving evaluations from trainers and head coach Jen Brossart, Blessum was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. According to the Panther girls basketball Facebook page, there were initial concerns that she might have sustained a neck fracture due to “numbness in her fingers and legs.” Blessum was determined to have a “slight concussion.”

The game continued with 3:07 left to play in regulation. Both squads scored four points apiece to send the game into overtime.

“That was a big deal for us,” Brossart said. “Girls stepped up when they had to, girls that have experience from playing at big games last year they really came out and played well in the fourth quarter.”

In overtime, Mykell Heidlebaugh landed a three-pointer, and the Panthers would get 5-for-6 free throws to get a 50-46 win.

“We got ahead and we nailed our free throws when we had to. I thought our girls played with poise down the stretch and that’s a good sign for the future,” Brossart said.

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