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NRHEG girls survive scare in sub-section title game


Members of the NRHEG girls' basketball team and Panther fans rise to their feet and rejoice as the Panthers pull away from WEM in the second half of Monday night's Section 2AA Sub-Section South championship game at Minnesota State-Mankato. The unbeaten, top-ranked Panthers survived stall tactics by the Buccaneers and won 45-34, advancing to the Section 2AA title game Friday at approximately 8 p.m. at Minnesota State-Mankato. Panthers pictured above from left are Gretchen Ramaker, Kelli Harrington, Jade Peterson and Anna Stork. (Star Eagle photo by Chris Schlaak)



MANKATO – Many people felt the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva girls’ basketball team needed a close game to toughen the Panthers up. Those people got their wish in the South Sub-Section 2AA championship game at MSU-Mankato Monday. 

Gopher Conference foe Waterville-Elysian-Morristown slowed the pace and forced the Panthers to break away from a halftime deadlock to post a 45-34 victory. 

Coach Gabe Hauer’s Buccaneers saw their season end at 18-10. The Bucs lost two regular season meetings to NRHEG 75-39 and 83-48. 

The Panthers climbed to 27-0 this season and won their 57th straight game over the last two seasons. 

Hauer knew his squad could not run with the Panthers and did a nice job of slowing the action down. 

The teams played over six minutes at the start with Paige Overgaard’s bucket the only one by either team. 

The Panthers’ biggest lead of the half was 12-7 with 4:30 remaining. But, old-fashioned three-pointers by Erika Olson and Hannah Steinhaus helped WEM rally for a 15-15 deadlock at the half. 

WEM took only 11 shots in the opening half, making six of them. Olson’s six points led the Buccaneers. 

NRHEG struggled with its shooting, making only 6-26 shots from the floor. Carlie Wagner scored seven points and Maddie Wagner added five for the Panthers. 

“WEM showed great patience on offense,” said NRHEG coach John Schultz. “Their style of play was very successful in frustrating us.” 

The second half was a little faster paced but not by much. WEM held a 19-18 lead seven minutes into the final half when Carlie Wagner and Jade Schultz knocked down consecutive three-pointers. The Panthers never trailed again. 

NRHEG held a 28-21 lead with 7:35 remaining, but the Bucs would not go away. 

WEM narrowed the margin to 34-29 with 2:30 left, but the Panthers clinched the win at the free throw line. 

“I didn’t feel like we hustled on defense until crunch time in the second half,” said Schultz. “We’re lucky. We can’t expect to shoot 3-20 on threes and win.”

NRHEG won despite shooting only 31 percent from the field. The Panthers made just 3-20 shots behind the arc and 10 of 16 free throws. 

Carlie Wagner suffered through a tough shooting night, but still led all scorers with 17 points. She hit 6-18 shots from the floor.

Overgaard provided some big baskets when they were needed. She hit 6-10 shots to score 12. 

Schultz, a 2-13 shooter, netted eight points, two more than Maddie Wagner. 

Schultz handed out four assists, one more than Carlie Wagner. 

WEM, which took 20 fewer shots, made 39 percent from the floor. The Bucs connected on 1-3 triples and 9-14 gift tosses. 

Kalley Kendall was the lone Buccaneer to reach double digits, finishing with 11 points. 

NRHEG held a 27 to 20 rebounding advantage, dominating the offensive boards by a 19-5 margin. 

Overgaard snapped off nine rebounds and blocked five WEM shots. Eight of her boards were on the offensive end. 

Schultz grabbed seven boards, putting her over the 1,000 career rebound mark. Carlie Wagner plucked five rebounds. 

WEM was forced into 17 turnovers, compared to 10 for the Panthers. Schultz and Carlie Wagner made three steals apiece. 

A pair of number one seeds will battle for the section championship when NRHEG and Norwood-Young America square off Friday at MSU-Mankato at 8 p.m.

The winner will open state tournament play Wednesday. 

The Panthers started of a Class AA State Championship by pounding Tri-City United 87-34 last Thursday at Mankato East. 

TCU, which lost a regular season game to NRHEG by a 94-37 margin, finished their season 9-17.

NRHEG didn’t have its normal quick start, holding just a 27-18 lead midway through the opening half. 

After a time out, the Panthers turned it up a notch. NRHEG outscored TC United 36-3 the rest of the half to walk off the floor holding an insurmountable 63-21 lead at the break. 

Carlie Wagner found her touch early. She knocked down five three-pointers and scored 33 points in the opening half. 

“Our defense made some adjustments after the slow start to slow down their offense,” said Coach Schultz. “I was proud of our effort tonight.”

With reserves playing much of the final half, and running time for the final nine minutes, NRHEG outscored the Titans 24 to 13 in the final half. 

The Panthers shot 41 percent from the floor, firing up 74 shots. NRHEG connected on 9-22 triples and 18 of 26 free throws. 

Wagner, who finished six of nine behind the arc, ended up with 39 points. 

Jade Schultz, a 5-11 shooter, tossed in 12 points. 

Maddie Wagner added nine points and Paige Overgaard chipped in with seven. 

Carlie Wagner and Schultz handed out four assists apiece. 

TCU shot just 17 percent from the floor, taking 46 shots. The Titans were 2-13 on three-pointers and 16 of 38 from the charity stripe. 

Dani Angileno led Tri-City United with 12 points. Freshman Sydney Vargo flipped in 10 points and Courtney Hentges added eight. 

The Panthers controlled the boards by a 41 to 23 margin, including 15-9 on the offensive boards. 

Schultz recorded a double-double by hauling down 10 rebounds to lead NRHEG.

A pair of number one seeds will battle for the section championship when NRHEG and Norwood-Young America square off Friday at MSU-Mankato at 8 p.m.

The winner will open state tournament play Wednesday. 

Sub-Sect. 2AA (SF)

NRHEG 87, TC United 34

TCU 21     13         34

NRHEG 63     24         87

NRHEG (87): C. Wagner 39, Schultz 12, Mad. Wagner 9, Overgaard 7, Mar. Wagner 5, Camerer 4, Ramaker 3, Lundberg 2, Stork 2, Harrington 2, Peterson 2, Hagen 0. FG: 30-74 (41%, 9-22 3-pters.), FT: 18-26 (69%), PF: 27 (Stork out); TP-87.

TC United (34): D. Angileno 12, Vargo 10, Hentges 8, A. Angileno 1, Chadderdon 1, Trecka 1, Holicky 1. FG: 8-46 (17%, 2-13 3-pters.); FT: 16-38 (42%), PF: 16, TP-34.

South Sub-Sect. 2AA (Champ.)

NRHEG 45, WEM 34

NRHEG 15     30         45

WEM 15     19         34

NRHEG (45): C. Wagner 17, Overgaard 12, Schultz 8, Mad. Wagner 6, Lundberg 2, Mar. Wagner 0, Stork 0. FG: 16-51 (31%, 3-20 3-pters.); FT: 10-16 (63%); PF: 18; TP-45.

WEM (34): Kal. Kendall 11, Pratt 6, Olson 6, Steinhaus 5, Winter 4, Kam. Kendall 2. FG: 12-31 (39%, 1-3 3-pters.); FT: 9-14 (64%), PF: 17 (Kalley Kendall out); TP-34.

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