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Girls rout USC, finish 10-2 in conference

The NRHEG girls’ basketball team stumbled a bit Tuesday, but it didn’t much matter.

The Panthers’ big game was Friday, and they took care of business handily.

NRHEG dominated United South Central in front of the home fans, claiming the outright Gopher Conference championship with a 68-27 victory.

“The team shot the ball well, hitting 12 three pointers — 11 of them in the first half alone,” said NRHEG coach Onika Peterson. “I am extremely proud of this team. They have been getting better every week.”

The win left the Panthers 10-2 in conference play, a game better than second-place Maple River and Blooming Prairie. The Panthers improved to 16-8 overall.

Three scorers reached double figures in the USC game, which NRHEG led 43-14 at halftime.

Sidney Schultz finished with 12 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists, Betsy Schoenrock 11 points, 7 rebounds and 7 blocked shots, and Olivia Christopherson 10 points, 2 rebounds and a steal.

Conference wins secure tie for crown for NRHEG boys

The NRHEG boys’ basketball team has had games this season when it has struggled to score, especially in the first half.

Friday night wasn’t one of them.

The Panthers were poised for Gopher Conference showdown with Blooming Prairie and were firing on all cylinders while cruising to a 77-55 triumph at New Richland.

“We had an offensive explosion,” said coach Pat Churchill, whose team improved to 18-1 overall and 9-0 in the conference.

The Panthers, who have clinched at least a tie for the conference title, came out aggressive on offense.

“We ran the floor extremely well and had a lot of easy looks because of our transition,” said Churchill.

Still, the game was close for most of the first half. In fact Blooming Prairie took an early 6-point lead, but NRHEG battled back and pushed the lead out to 7 with 6 minutes to go in the half. It was 39-28 at the intermission.

NRHEG shot 13-for-21 in the paint in the first half.

“If we are disciplined and aggressive enough to get the ball there, we can make shots, and we did tonight,” said Churchill.

Schoenrock tops 1,000 career points at Blooming Prairie

It was a big night for the NRHEG girls’ basketball team, but an even bigger one for Betsy Schoenrock.

Schoenrock, a 6-foot-5 senior who’s headed to Gustavus Adolphus to play basketball next year, netted the 1,000th point of her career as the Panthers won 66-55 at Blooming Prairie Friday, Feb. 9.

Schoenrock finished the night with 33 points while the Panthers improved to 8-2 in the conference and 14-6 overall.

Earlier in the week, the Panthers defeated WEM 50-41 at Waterville Monday, Feb. 5.

On Saturday, they completed the trifecta with a victory over Maple River — securing a tie for the Gopher Conference championship.

“I’m very proud of this team,” said coach Onika Peterson. “We had three tough Gopher Conference matchups with Waterville, Blooming, and Maple River this week. To get three wins is huge. The girls came out strong in the first half against both Blooming and Maple River. We struggled in the second half, but the girls were able to hold them off. I am very proud of this team's hustle, effort, and heart that they gave.”