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Panthers switch gears to Districts

By Staff | Feb 28, 2020

The Rugby Panther boys basketball team ended the regular season on a high note, and are switching gears to District time.

The District 11 Boys Basketball tournament began yesterday afternoon in Rugby, and continues today and Monday.

“I think it’s good that it’s (the tournament) in our own gym. I’m not gonna complain about that,” said Panthers head coach Mike Santjer last Friday after an 85-66 win against the Dunseith Dragons. “We don’t have to travel and we’re playing pretty good right now. Devan (Michels) kind of found his shot back tonight, so hopefully that helps.

“Guys are playing to their strengths. Trace (Goven) is getting to the basket, Isaiah (Bundy-Smith) is working really hard with his back to the basket, and Jaden’s (Hamilton) just kind of doing his thing like he’s done for us all year. Everybody’s kind of found their niche on the team and they’re playing into it,” Santjer said.

With a first round bye, the Panthers got a breather last night and awaited the winner between No. 4-seed Nedrose and No. 5-seed Towner-Granville-Upham. The Panthers will play for a championship berth today at 5:30 p.m. The winners of the games between No. 2-seed Drake-Anamoose and No. 7-seed Westhope-Newburg and between No. 6-seed Bottineau and No. 3-seed Velva will play the late game tonight to qualify for the District championship.

Qualifiers for the Region 6 Boys Basketball tournament will be held at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., respectively, next Monday, with the District 11 championship to follow at 7 p.m.

Panthers end regular season with win over Dragons

The last time the Panthers saw the Dragons was during the second round of the CNDC Tournament before Christmas.

And just like the time before, the Panthers won by a difference of 19 points (77-58 in the CNDC).

Defense and outside shooting proved critical for the Panthers in the final game of the regular season.

“I actually thought we played a lot better defense tonight,” said Santjer. “Our defense intensity was probably one of the best that we’ve seen, so I like that going into tournaments.”

Both the Panthers and the Dragons had three three-pointers apiece in the first quarter, however the Panthers would be ahead by a five-point margin (26-21) at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter proved huge for the Panthers, as the offense was able to chip in 16 more points (12 of them from outside the arc) and the defense held the Dragons to just five on the quarter.

The second half would see more closer margins, with the Panthers outscoring the Dragons 20-18 in the third quarter and 23-22 in the fourth.?

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