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Lady Panthers 3-1 after win at MLS

By Sue Sitter - | Jan 2, 2021

Submitted Photo Anna Johnson of the Rugby Panthers defends against a Maverick offensive push on the court. Photo by LaVonne Erickson, Renville County Farmer.

After a weekend away game spent playing catch-up with the Glenburn Panthers and falling short by three points, Rugby High School’s Lady Panthers traveled to Mohall Dec. 22 for a 62-36 win against the Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood Mavericks.

“We dug ourselves a hole that we couldn’t get out of,” Coach Jen Brossart said of the game against Glenburn Dec. 19.

Rugby didn’t make the same mistake against 3-0 MLS.

“The girls played very well tonight,” Brossart said after the game against the Mavericks.

The game was the first of a doubleheader that had an intense battle for the boys’ squads following the girls’ decisive win.

The Lady Panthers launched into an aggressive game early on, with center Bella McCabe scoring the first bucket for either team. Guard Sarah Blessum added to the scoreboard with a three-pointer. Forward Mykell Heidlebaugh landed another Panthers three-point shot, along with two more buckets. Forward Joey Wolf added another two points. MLS managed to answer Rugby’s 14 first-quarter points with only four of their own.

Guard Anna Johnson sank two three-pointers in the second quarter. Forward Kendyl Hager added one more to the total. Blessum saw yet another bucket and made good on one free throw, while McCabe also drew a foul and made two free throws. Heidlebaugh made two more baskets and center Gabi Sullivan rounded out the 17-point onslaught for the Panthers, giving Rugby a 31-11 lead by halftime.

“The post got involved in the game and we had some good shooting from the outside that evened things out and allowed our posts to work a little bit,” Brossart said of the team’s ability to stick around the key after the game.

The second half of the game saw the Panthers continue their offensive.

MLS came back to the court re-energized, too. Guard Madison Moberg and forward Kylie Abernathy both landed three-pointers. Moberg also made good on two rebounds. Guard Jamie Thompson landed a bucket as well. However, the Mavericks continued a pattern of turnovers from the first half, with the ball disappearing fast from their hands and moving to the Panthers’ side of the court.

The Mavericks’ 12 points for the third quarter did little to turn the game away from the Panthers.

Rugby logged another 18 points for the quarter, including more outside shots landed by Heidlebaugh, Johnson and Wolf, along with baskets from inside the paint by guard Tesha Sobolik and forward Brooke Anderson. Forward Peyton Hauck put one point on the board with a free throw.

The Panthers outscored the Mavericks for three quarters in the game. Both teams put 13 points on the board in the fourth quarter, which ended with a buzzer-beating three-pointer scored by MLS guard Lainey Schmidt.

“I thought Mykell Heidlebaugh was aggressive tonight and did a good job of picking her shots and being aggressive to the basket,” Brossart noted. “Bella McCabe did a heck of a job in the post and did well on the boards. It was nice to see Anna Johnson get some confidence from the outside and knock down some shots. Overall a good effort by everyone.

“Defensively we stepped up our game and converted on MLS’s turnovers. We talked about yesterday having a better shot selection, being more aggressive to the basket and having our posts get more active and focused on the inside,” Brossart added. “They did a good job of taking everything in at practice yesterday and getting a good win before Christmas break.”

The Rugby Panthers returned home Dec. 29 to face the 3-1 Kidder County Wolves. Details from that game will appear in next week’s Tribune.

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