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Panthers win against Raiders has suspenseful start

By Sue Sitter - | Jan 16, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT Panthers center Isabella McCabe struggles for the ball against several Drake-Anamoose Raiders in Rugby High’s Hanneman Gym Jan. 11.

The Lady Panthers’ 53-37 win over the Drake-Anamoose Raiders began with five minutes of suspense for fans in Rugby High’s Charlie Hanneman Gym Jan. 11.

Fans stood in the stands at tip off time, following a tradition of waiting to sit until the first score of the game for their team. The Raiders charged forward on the court, with guard Jamie Lemer shooting a three-point bucket shortly after the game’s start. Drake-Anamoose fans sat down.

Panther fans waited as the minutes in the first quarter ticked away. Rugby Guard Anna Johnson broke the tension with a three-pointer of her own after the Panthers moved clear of the Raiders’ defenders. The crowd breathed a sigh of relief and sat down.

Three-pointers followed from forward Kendyl Hager and guard Sarah Blessum. Another Panthers guard, Tesha Sobolik, put in a rebound.

Raiders Forward Jazzlyn Hase sank a two-pointer but her teammates failed to connect any more shots for the quarter.

With an 11-5 lead, the Panthers fought ahead in the rest of the first half with three more baskets for Sobolik and one each from forwards Peyton Hauk and Joey Wolf, and center Isabella McCabe. Hager sank two more three-pointers.

The Raiders’ center Taryn Sieg landed two buckets after diving forward into the paint. Forwards Riley Hauff and Rylee Martin each sank baskets. Forward Halie Fletschock drew two separate fouls and made four free throws.

The half ended with a 29-17 Panthers lead.

The Panthers leaped ahead in the third quarter, scoring 15 more points to the Raiders’ eight. Hauff and Hase scored for the Raiders, with Hauff busy at the free throw line. In addition to scoring two buckets, Hauff made three good free throws. Hase made one as well.

The fourth quarter saw a more energized Raiders team, with Hauff once again making good on free throws. Fletschock grabbed at the ball and penetrated the inside of Raider territory for two shots. Lemer did the same for two buckets, followed by Hase, who scored one.

The Panthers kept control of the game, however, with three dead-accurate three-pointers shot by Johnson in the third quarter, followed by one from Hager in the fourth. Panthers guard Joran Jundt landed a shot from the inside along with Sobolik and McCabe.

The Panthers saw less success from the free throw line. Of seven attempts made in the game, only one shot landed through the net for them.

After the game, Panthers coach Jennifer Brossart said, “I think we’ve got to be able to put the ball in the hole. It took us five minutes to do that, and that can’t happen. We’re a better ball team than that.”

Brossart blamed the uneven play on injuries in part. “Obviously, we’ve got girls out for the season, Brossart said of injured center Brooke Blessum and forward Riley Grove. “We’ve got a girl out, a second leading scorer who’s out with an ankle sprain,” she added, referring to forward Mykell Heidlebaugh. “We don’t know when we’ll get her back,” Brossart said.

“We’ve got some great basketball players out there and we’ve just got to get it together. We’ve got some people who couldn’t put the ball in the hole right away and then Anna Johnson got on and Kendyl Hager hit a basket, Sarah and Bella were rebounding, so we’ve just got to play better.”

Brossart said the key to success for the Panthers was “mental preparation.”

“Drake has a nice little basketball team. Every year they get better,” she added. “They’ve hung with Bottineau. This is a team that could be scary come district tournament time. If Drake plays their cards right, they could be sitting at the regional tournament this year. I just felt we didn’t come prepared mentally tonight.”

“We gutted it out and it looked okay, but sloppy,” Brossart said of the game against the Raiders. “There were a lot of turnovers and those are the things we have to correct. It’s getting to the middle of the season now, even though it seems we haven’t been here very long. It’s getting to the middle of the season and we’ve got to clean that up because we’re getting to the heart of our season and it’s going to be tough going from here on out,” she added.

“Some of it, you just can’t work on. The mental preparation, that comes from within. We can do as much as we can do as coaches, but as players, they have to be able to prepare,” Brossart said.

Score leaders for the Panthers in the game were: Hager, 13 pts.; Sobolik, 12 pts. ; Johnson, 11 pts.; McCabe, 6 pts.; Blessum, 5 pts.; Jundt, 2 pts.; Hauck, 2 pts.; Wolf, 2 pts.

Scoring leaders for the Raiders were: Hauff, 11pts.; Fletschock, 8 pts.; Lemer, 7 pts.; Hase, 5 pts.; Sieg, 4 pts.; Martin, 2 pts.

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