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Panthers prepare for playoffs after nonconference loss at Waseca

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SENIOR STRONG — The seven seniors on the 2011-12 NRHEG boys' basketball team are, from left, Pete Blowers, Matt Carlson, Tyler Sorenson, Carter Tollefson, Spencer Hanna, Sam Lundberg and Lucas Meyer. (Star Eagle photo by Chris Schlaak)


By JIM LUTGENS

Editor/Publisher

The NRHEG boys’ basketball team finished the regular season with a tough game against a tough opponent.

Hopefully, it toughened the Panthers for tournament play.

NRHEG dropped its regular-season finale 67-42 last Tuesday at Waseca. The Panthers, who lost a plethora of close contests this season, fell to 9-17. The Bluejays improved to 11-12 under first-year head coach Todd Dufault.

“Waseca's defense was the story of the game,” said NRHEG coach Pat Churchill. “They took us out of everything we wanted to do offensively. Their pressure man-to-man defense gave us nothing inside of 15 feet. We settled for outside shots and we were not hitting anything. You have to give Waseca credit for how hard and physical they played. It took us out of rhythm offensively and we were flustered all night.”


No. 2 ranked NRHEG girls end regular season without a loss

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IT’S UNDER CONTROL — NRHEG senior Anna Schlaak (33) dribbles in the lane during the Panthers’ victory over Medford last Tuesday. In the background is NRHEG’s Katie Cole (14). The Panthers completed a 26-0 regular season with a win Friday at Randolph. (Star Eagle photo by Chris Schlaak)


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PASS IT ON — The Panthers’ Hannah Lundberg (21) looks to pass the ball during last week’s game against Medford. (Star Eagle photo by Chris Schlaak)



By JIM LUTGENS

Editor/Publisher

The only thing in question for the NRHEG girls’ basketball team last week was the scores.

Everyone knew the unbeaten Gopher Conference champions would win to complete the regular season 26-0, best in school history. Even with starting guard Jade Schultz sidelined, the Panthers blew past Medford 67-35 last Tuesday and blasted Randolph 73-28 Friday.

The Panthers, ranked No. 2 and the only unbeaten team in Class AA, are the No. 1 seed in the sub-section and will host No. 8 Triton Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. If they win, they’ll host a game Friday, March 2 at 7 p.m. From there the tournament moves to Minnesota State-Mankato and Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

But coach John Schultz isn’t thinking about that just yet. He’s more than happy with the one-game-at-a-time approach that’s gotten the Panthers this far. Though they won their fourth consecutive Gopher Conference title, they’re aiming for their first state tournament berth since 2004.


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WHERE WILL HE LAND? — NRHEG senior Seth Petranek has Blue Earth Area’s Kysten Zierke in a precarious position during Section 2A Dual Meet action at Mapleton Saturday. Petranek won the match 10-6 and the Panthers won the meet 39-33. They went on to fall 56-11 to eventual section champion Jackson County Central. (Star Eagle photo by Chris Schlaak)


By JIM LUTGENS

Editor/Publisher

Things worked out about as expected Saturday for the NRHEG wrestling team.

The Panthers put together what coach Paul Cyr called a workmanlike effort in defeating Blue Earth Area 39-23 before falling 56-11 to eventual champion Jackson County Central in the Section 2A Dual Meet Tournament at Mapleton.

“JCC proved to be the dominant force in our section as they ran over the competition in their three dual meets,” said Cyr, whose team finished the dual-meet season with a 16-6 record.

The highlights in the BEA meet, according to Cyr, were a fall by Dillon Kubiatowicz at 106 pounds and a victory by Dillon Parpart at 160 which avenged a loss earlier in the season. Pins by Dustin Esplan and David Lassahn helped provide some cushion.