Lady Panthers finish strong to take down Tigers
While it took awhile for both the Royal Valley and ACCHS girls to get going in Tuesday’s Big Seven basketball match-up in Effingham, the Lady Panthers closed with quite a bang to secure a 38-20 road victory.
How Royal Valley ended the game was a far cry from how the teams started, with both offenses struggling to a 2-2 tie in the first quarter.
“We definitely are not playing a pretty style of basketball right now,” RVHS coach Corey Katzer said, “but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it until the end of time, I’m never going to apologize for a win no matter how ugly or how pretty it is.”
After the rough start, the Panthers remained patient and stuck to the plan and for how similar the offensive struggles were to the team’s opening loss against Jeff West, the team still managed to take a step forward as those issues did not affect Royal Valley’s performance on the defensive end.
Katzer noted the goal was to limit the impact of Tiger center Jentry Scherer, which the Panthers did effectively from the opening tip, and force ACCHS to be a perimeter offense.
In addition, RV got Scherer in foul trouble and worked up a massive free throw advantage in the second quarter, but the team was unable to use that to its advantage and held just a three point lead at halftime after an 8-0 run to start the period.
According to Katzer, he was less worried about the free throws, though, and thinking more about the continued lack of field goals that seemed to carry over from Royal Valley’s season-opener.
“I think I was more concerned about what was going to happen if we didn’t start seeing the ball go in the hole from a field goal standpoint,” Katzer said. “Right now, we play at a pretty good tempo at times, but we also haven’t learned that it’s one thing to get the ball down the floor with tempo and it’s another not to take one pass and a bad shot, especially when we’re not shooting the ball well.”
Starting in the second quarter, the Panthers began working for more high percentage shots and that carried over into the second half.
In addition to staying aggressive on defense, Royal Valley’s work on rebounding following the first game showed on the court. Katzer noted that was a focal point in individual drills during Monday’s practice and it translated to a slight edge that helped the team down the stretch.
What may have had the biggest impact, though, was the Panthers’ conditioning, as Katzer noted even his players were taking notice during the game and relaying to the coach comments from ACCHS players about being tired.
“I think they did wear down a little bit and I think we were able to take advantage of it and I think that ultimately, probably, was the outcome,” Katzer said. “We just kept grinding. We had a game plan. We stuck with that game plan Tuesday night. It took us a while to get going, but ultimately we got to where we wanted to be in terms of getting the win.”
Following a third quarter that played out similarly to the first half, the dam finally broke in the fourth quarter as Scherer fouled out just over a minute into the final period.
Panther Kate Hanson then took advantage inside with the Tigers’ tallest defender out of the game, scoring seven of her 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Hanson was battling foul trouble as well, however, and when she picked up her fourth she passed the baton on to point guard Tamo Thomas, who finished strong and helped Royal Valley score 17 of the final 21 points to close out the game.
Royal Valley’s key players stepped up when needed, which was crucial, but Katzer noted that inexperienced varsity players like Maggie Schuetz, Marlissa Jordan and Bella Thompson continuing to progress with each game will be important as well.
Leadership from players like Hanson and Thomas will help those young Panthers come along, as will the example that Macy Putnam (five points, six rebounds vs. ACCHS) sets.
“She’s not afraid to get on somebody. She’s not afraid to get on herself. She’s not afraid to push herself,” Katzer said. “I don’t’ think there’s a kid on our basketball team and I don’t think there’s anybody in our program that would disagree that she’s probably our hardest worker, both on and off the floor. I think as we’ve gone along, that’s started to rub off on Lexi (Baker) and Maggie and Bella.”
The Panthers look to keep progressing and carry over the momentum from the second half of Tuesday’s victory into another challenging match-up this Friday, as Royal Valley (1-1) gets set to host Hiawatha (1-0). Games will start at 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 8, 2015
RV: Hanson 4 5-9 13, T. Thomas 4 (1) 2-7 11, Putnam 2 1-2 5, Schuetz 1 1-2 3, Baker 1 0-2 2, Thompson 1 0-0 2, Broxterman 1 0-0 2. Totals- 14 (1) 9-22 38.
ACCHS: Eckert 2 3-4 7, Scherer 2 0-0 4, Ernzen 1 2-2 4, Kearney 1 0-0 2, Hollands 0 1-2 1, Parnell 0 1-2 1, Beien 0 1-2 1. Totals- 6 8-12 20.
Rebounding: RV- 33 (Hanson 8, Baker 7, Putnam 6); ACCHS- 32 (Hollands 6, Scherer 5).
Assists: RV- 6 (Hanson 2); ACCHS- 2 (Eckert 1, Martin 1).
Turnovers: RV- 12; ACCHS- 19.