PREP GIRLS BASKETBALL: Panthers top Minneota in battle of top area teams

Photo by Brennen Rupp TMB’s Kaylee Kirk goes in for the layup during their game against Minneota on Tuesday. The Panthers defeated the Vikings 67-60.

MINNEOTA – The Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Panthers picked up their fourth straight win on Tuesday with a tightly contested victory over the Minneota Vikings. TMB held Minneota’s post player, Lydia Sussner to just four points in the second half. With TMB’s defense swarming and forcing turnovers the Panthers picked up a 67-60 victory over the Vikings.

“We had several different players defending her tonight,” TMB coach Derek Ashbaugh said. “I thought they did a really good job of walling up and playing good defense. We tried not to bail her out and send her to the free throw line. We failed in some aspects as far as that’s concerned.”

Minneota coach Chad Johnston said that the Vikings didn’t consistently move well without the basketball throughout the night when the Panthers helped down on Sussner in the post.

“That’s something that they’ve traditionally done,” Johnston said. “They did it really well tonight. The fact of the matter is Lydia kind of stopped working at times. I think she got frustrated. She’s got to work on staying focused and continuing to work hard. When the ball moves in we got to do a better job of moving and talking. When the triple team is coming somebody has to be wide open. The biggest problem is we hold onto the ball too long and soon we got three girls on you. Passing out of a triple team isn’t very easy. They did a great job of doing that.”

With the game tied 2-2, TMB’s Sydney Lanoue knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 5-2 lead. The Vikings quickly responded with a 10-0 run to take a 12-5 lead.

“We had moments where defensively we did the things we wanted to do,” Johnston said. “When we did those things we’d get a turnover or get a contested shot. When we didn’t do those things TMB got wide open looks.”

A 3-pointer from Catherine Wendland cut Minneota’s lead to 12-10. A few moments later Lanoue knocked down her second 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 13-12 lead.

“They shot the ball well tonight from the outside,” Johnston said. “They had a lot of girls contribute. They had a lot of girls hit the outside shot. Hats off to them. We had glimpses of the good things we do and we had glimpses of some of the inexperience we have on our team.”

Morgan Hennen quickly got the lead back for the Vikings with a layup, but a 3-pointer from Laura Karkle gave the Panthers the lead back at 16-15.

With the Vikings holding an 18-17 lead the Panthers dialed up another 3-pointer. This time it came from Alecia Christian. Christian’s three-pointer gave the Panthers a 20-18 lead. It would also give the Panthers the lead for good.

With the Panthers holding a 34-27 lead Morgan Hennen hit a jumper at the buzzer to make it a 34-29 at the half.

A standout for the Panthers in the first half was bench player, Samantha Edwards. Edwards chipped in with six points and helped keep Sussner in check.

“I thought she did a really good job” Ashbaugh said. “Not only with her offense, but with her defense. She played really good defense on Sussner when she was in there. She’s really coming along. The more confident she is the better ball team we will be.”

An Abby Hennen basket opened the scoring in the second half to trim TMB’s lead to 34-31. A Kaylee Kirk 3-pointer pushed TMB’s lead to 37-31.

The Vikings were able to cut TMB’s lead to 41-38, before TMB’s offense started clicking. The Panthers went on a 7-0 run to open up a 48-38 lead.

TMB’s run forced a Minneota timeout. Coming out of the timeout the Vikings went on a 10-1 run to cut TMB’s lead to 49-48.

A Kirk 3-pointer pushed TMB’s lead to 3-49. A Christian 3-pointer gave TMB a 58-51 lead. Ashbaugh said his team did a better job of being patient down the stretch.

“We usually had a mismatch,” Ashbaugh said. “They were having a tough time defending our post players. We had a stretch where we were a little impatient and kept turning it over. Then right around the six minute mark we were a little more patient and worked to get the shot we wanted.”

A Lizzy Gillingham jumper cut TMB’s lead back to 60-55. Kirk answered back with a basket of her own to push TMB’s lead back to seven. A Morgan Kockelman 3-pointer for Minneota cut TMB’s lead to 62-58. Another Kockelman basket made it 63-60 in favor of the Panthers. Unfortunately for the Vikings that would be their last basket of the game.

Kirk finished the game with 20 points, six assists and five steals. Evelyn Dolan was a force on the glass for the Panthers. She finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Lanoue finished with 10 points.

Kockelman led the Vikings with 14 points. Abby Hennen scored 12 points. Sussner finished with 11 points. Morgan Hennen scored 10 points.

With the win the Panthers improved to 5-1. They’ll be back in action on Thursday in Lamberton against Red Rock Central. The Panthers went 9 of 20 from the free-throw line in the win.

“We will certainly be working on free throws,” Ashbaugh said. “We could have made this a little easier on ourselves.”

Minneota now owns a 5-2 record. They’ll be back in action on Wednesday, Dec. 27 against Springfield on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University.

TMB 34 33-67

Minneota 29 31-60

SCORING: TMB (Kirk 20; Dolan 15; Lanoue 10; Edwards 8; Christian 6); Minneota (Kockelman 14; A. Hennen 12; Sussner 11; M. Hennen 10; Gillingham 8).

3-POINT FGS: TMB (Kirk, Lanoue, Christian 2); Minneota (Kockelman 2).

REBOUNDS: TMB (Dolan 11); Minneota (Sussner 6; Gillingham, A. Hennen 5).

ASSISTS: TMB (Kirk 6); Minneota (M. Hennen 3).

STEALS: TMB (Kirk 5); Minneota (Sussner 4).

BLOCKS: TMB (Karbo 4); Minneota (Sussner 1).

TURNOVERS: TMB (14); Minneota (19).