Panthers get better of the Warriors
ALTA - The Alta-Aurelia Warriors and St. Mary’s Panthers girls basketball teams did battle on Friday night on the hardwood for 32 minutes. After a close first half, the St. Mary’s team began to pull away in the final 16 minutes, winning both schools’ Twin Lakes Conference opener, 41-25.
“I thought we played good man defense and had good help on their (Alta-Aurelia’s) drives,” SM Coach Derek Varner said. “We played hard and we boxed out better, rebounded better than we did against CC-E.”
Offense was hard to come by for both teams in the first eight minutes of the game, Alta-Aurelia forced to call timeout in the opening 30 seconds of the game. A-A’s Kruger opened the scoring with a three, hitting two of those in the first quarter, but St. Mary’s had the advantage after one, 7-6.
The points were still sitting on the floor as a shade under four minutes left in the first half, the Panthers enjoyed a five point lead at 14-9. The road team continued their end of the half run to take a 22-9 score over A-A to the locker room after SM senior Lizzie Lenhart drilled a three to end the half.
Alta-Aurelia came out and hit a few shots to get their offense going thanks to freshman Jenna Nielsen, but the Panthers were doubled up at the end of the third against the Warriors, 32-16.
St. Mary’s kept the Warriors at arm’s length through the fourth quarter, A-A cutting the lead down to 11 with 4:51 left but were unable to make another run at the Panthers until time ran out.
“I thought we had a really good offensive performance tonight. We made huge strides and showed patience,” Varner said. “I told the girls as a rule tonight that it’s four passes and then we can shoot. We got a bit more into their zone tonight.”
Lenhart led all scorers with 20 point as freshman Emily Nothwehr scored 10.
“Emily stepped up. She was more active on offense and took some high quality shots. She did a good job boxing out and rebounding,” Varner said.
St. Mary’s improves to 2-1, 1-1 while Alta-Aurelia falls to 0-4, 0-1. The Panthers will hit the road on Tuesday night when they go to 3-0 Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Aryshire. Alta-Aurelia will go to 1-3, 0-1 Sioux Central.