SECTION GIRLS BASKETBALL: Panthers open up section tournament with 76-36 victory over St. James Area

Photo by Tara Brandl TMB’s Evy Dolan looks to score during their Section 3AA Tournament game against St. James Area on Monday. The Panthers defeated the Saints 76-36.

TRACY – The Tracy-Milroy-Balaton girls basketball team continued its aggressive play seen throughout the majority of the regular season on Monday night as the Panthers opened up their Section 3AA Tournament play against the No. 8 seed St. James Area Saints. TMB showed no signs of slowing down right from the opening tip, stifling the Saints on defense en route to the 76-36 victory.

TMB opened the game by trapping the Saints on their first possession and forcing coach Spencer Monson to use a timeout. The Panthers defense proved to be continuously disruptive during the first half, resulting in 21 turnovers for the Saints. TMB also held the Saints to just 16 points in the first half, and outscored St. James 18-8 in the last five and a half minutes of the half, with the Panthers leading 48-16 at halftime.

Panthers coach Derek Ashbaugh said their main goal on offense was trying to get the ball inside and felt they did a good job of executing from the post.

“We were going to look to go inside; we thought against their defense we’d maybe have opportunities to get the ball inside to Evy (Dolan), and Sam (Edwards) had some opportunities early in the game,” said Ashbaugh. “We definitely wanted to play inside-out. The girls did a really nice job executing the game plan.”

The turnover troubles for St. James continued in the second half as TMB went on a 20-4 run to start the half. The Panthers attacked down low throughout the game with Dolan leading the team with 31 points. Point guard Kaylee Kirk added 10 points in the victory.

Ashbaugh said he was pleased with his team’s energy to start the game and getting everyone on the floor involved throughout the game.

“It’s been almost a week now since we played, so just getting game speed and getting game reps is good for everyone to get out there and get involved,” Ashbaugh said. “We know that each round it just kind of ratchets it up a notch as far as competition and intensity. The girls did a really nice job of bringing it early on, lot of energy.”

The Panthers will face either Pipestone Area or Luverne at 6 p.m. on Thursday at a site to be determined.

SJA 16 20 – 36

TMB 48 28 – 76

SCORING: TMB 28-49, 57 percent (Dolan 13-20, 5-5 31; Kirk 4-9, 2-2 10; Edwards 3-5, 2-2 8; Lanoue 3-5, 2-3 8; Karbo 3-8, 0-0 7; Karkle 2-4, 0-0 5; Christian 1-4, 0-0 3; Smith 1-3, 0-0 2; Alberg 1-1, 0-0 2).

REBOUNDS: TMB 28 (Dolan 8; Kirk 5).

ASSISTS: TMB 21 (Kirk 7).

STEALS: TMB 16 (Kirk 5; Lanoue 4).

BLOCKS: TMB 2 (Karbo, Edwards 1).