PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Panthers come back to edge Pipestone Area

MARSHALL – The Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers played a first half to forget Saturday afternoon against the Pipestone Area Arrows. The Panthers could only muster eight first half points and only made two shots from the field.

“Pipestone was doing a really good job of being physical with us and we weren’t handling it well,” TMB coach Derek Ashbaugh said. “We needed to match their physicality and I think early on in the second half we did a good job of that. When we did that we were able to get to the line. The energy picked up. Pipestone is a good defensive team, there is no doubt. They did a good job of keeping us out of a rhythm and not allowing us to get easy looks.”

At the half the Panthers trailed 16-8. Evelyn Dolan was the only Panther to have made a shot from the field and led the Panthers with six points. TMB’s senior guard Kaylee Kirk said that they were committing too many turnovers in the first half.

“We had a lot of turnovers and our shots weren’t dropping,” Kirk said. “We don’t want to use last night as an excuse for not playing well. They play good defense.”

Despite only scoring eight points TMB’s defense helped keep the Panthers in the game while the offense struggled to find the bottom of the net in th first half.

“We played well defensively in the first half,” Ashbaugh said. “We gave up nine offensive rebounds, which isn’t good, but we held them to 16 points. It just looked bad because we only scored eight. We gave up more than we would like to on the offensive glass, but Pipestone is incredibly physical and crash the glass.”

Kirk said that coach Ashbaugh told the team to focus on what they can control in the second half.

“The first thing he said to us when we came in was to focus on us,” Kirk said. “We don’t need to worry about what they are doing. We had to focus on what we were doing and not what they were doing. We focused on ourselves and ran through our offense in the second half.”

A pair of Sydney Lanoue free throws got the Panthers on the board in the second half, and got them to double digits. An Alicia Christian free throw at the 15:10 mark cut Pipestone’s lead to 18-14. Christian was the first Panther player to score not named Dolan or Lanoue.

Kirk knocked down a jumper at the 13:30 mark to give TMB its third field goal of the game. Kirk went on to score five straight points for the Panthers to trim Pipestone’s lead to 26-23.

“She was great,” Ashbaugh said. “She did a nice job of attacking the basket in the second half. She forced some calls once in a while. She hit some jumpers. They were able to lay off us so much, because we only shot eight percent in the first half. It got us some confidence and some energy.”

Lanoue converted a 3-point play to tie the game at 26-26 with 8:50 left in the game. The next time down the floor Dolan gave the Panthers a 28-26 lead. Sidney Karbo scored her first points of the game to give TMB a 30-28 lead with 7:30 left in the game.

With the Panthers trailing 37-35 Kirk knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 38-37 lead with 2:15 left in the game. Kirk’s 3-pointer gave the Panthers the lead for good as they went on to win the game 45-40.

Kirk scored all 15 of her points in the second half. The senior guard also finished the game with four steals.

“I just tried to get my teammates open,” Kirk said. “They knew we were trying to get it into the post and I knew that was going to leave shots open for me.”

Lanoue finished with 15 points and grabbed six rebounds. She also recorded seven steals. Dolan finished with 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

With the win the Panthers extended their winning streak to 16 and now own a 17-1 overall record. The Panthers will be back in action on Thursday against Lakeview.

TMB 8 37 45

PAS 16 24 40

SCORING: TMB (Kirk 15; Lanoue 15; Dolan 10).

REBOUNDS: TMB (Dolan 7; Lanoue 6).

ASSISTS: TMB (Kirk 2).

STEALS: TMB (Lanoue 7; Kirk 4).

BLOCKS: TMB (Lanoue, Dolan 1).