Panther Tamo Thomas (shown above, middle right) floats a shot over the Santa Fe Trail defense in a non-league contest to close out the first half of the season. Thomas was strong for Royal Valley again, leading the team with 12 points in the 54-30 victory.

RV girls' big second quarter helps fuel victory over Santa Fe Trail to close out 2015


After a number of slow starts earlier this basketball season, the Lady Panthers finally seemed to find their pace as they built up to a steady cruising speed before racing ahead of visiting Santa Fe Trail on the way to a 54-30 victory on Friday night.

Both teams needed some time to gear up, as it was a 4-4 game through the first five minutes, but the first quarter finished at a frenetic pace that clearly favored Royal Valley. Panther Marlissa Jordan’s three to end the period then seemed to open the floodgates, as the home team dominated the second quarter.

Everything was clicking for Royal Valley in the period, as both teams entered the second quarter with six fouls, but it was RVHS that made the most of numerous trips to the free throw line. Forward Kate Hanson also went to work inside, scoring six of her 10 points in the pivotal quarter.

More than anything, though, it was the Panthers’ defense that took its toll on the Chargers and allowed the team to build a double-digit lead by halftime.

Royal Valley coach Corey Katzer noted his players have started to see the fruits of their labor pay off on the defensive end recently, as they can now tell when their opponents are getting tired towards halftime or into the second half. He said his players saw that and took advantage of that in the second quarter, but also did a good job adjusting to Santa Fe Trail’s press break.

Katzer noted the Chargers were taking a page out of Hiawatha’s book to try and get past Royal Valley’s press, running their players ball-side deep to take advantage of the Panthers’ wing players. Releasing those players and having the guards fill on that side of the court quickly corrected any issues the team was having and gave RVHS the upper hand.

“I think it kind of clicked with them and as soon as we did that, that’s when we went on that run,” Katzer said.

By the end of the second quarter, “that run” saw the Panthers’ score 17 points to the Chargers’ one. A pair of free throws each from Tamo and Kiikto Thomas were the opening blows of that salvo, while Lexi Baker closed out the run with a big three to beat the buzzer, giving Royal Valley a 30-11 lead at halftime.

In fact, the run probably could have been even more impressive and led to a bigger lead, but the Panthers were slowing themselves down with too many turnovers and unforced errors. It was a prediction Katzer made in the locker room before the game, as the coach told his team it was the only thing that could stop them in Friday’s game.

“I told the kids, we were up by 19 at halftime, the little things were what kept us from being up 25 to 30,” Katzer said.

 Royal Valley couldn’t quite maintain its pace in the second half, but the damage was already done. Tamo Thomas and Hanson continued to score key buckets and the Panthers’ lead never shrunk to single digits.

The Chargers were forced to press because of that in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers proved equally strong in beating the press as they were in pressing, with Bella Thompson getting some easy points in transition that fueled the team late in its 24-point victory.

Now five games into the season, Katzer noted confidence is growing and that was reflected in Royal Valley’s team performance, as several players made scoring contributions against Santa Fe Trail and that was an important factor in the winning effort, according to the coach.

“I just think it was the total team. One through 12 on the team, every one of them contributed. Every one of them had to contribute and I think we played with more poise, played more relaxed and it was fun to see the kids do that,” Katzer said. “I think every time we play we’re getting a little more secure, a little more confident in what we’re doing.”

Katzer noted he also tried to let his players take charge more in Friday’s contest and it seemed to pay off and he’s now hoping Royal Valley can run with that through the rest of the season.

With the break now, players like Maggie Schuetz and Anna Johnson can fully recuperate, while players like Hanson can continue to get stronger. Coming back to face two of the top teams in the league will be no cakewalk, but Katzer said he feels the Panthers will be ready to go to work.

“It’s great to go in with a win, on a two-game winning streak. We know what we’ve got coming out of break with Nemaha and Sabetha back-to-back, not a great way to come out of Christmas break,” Katzer said, “but we’re looking forward to the challenge and we’re just going to try to get better over the next five or six days.”

Royal Valley (3-2) will return to action in 2016 with a road contest against Nemaha Central (5-0) on Jan. 5. Games will start at 4:30 p.m.

Dec. 18, 2015


SFT:    8-3-8-11—30

RV:  11-19-8-16—54

Individual statistics:

RV:  T. Thomas 4 4-4 12, Hanson 5 0-2 10, Thompson 5 0-2 10, Baker 4 (1) 0-0 9, Jordan 2 (2) 0-0 6, Putnam 0 2-2 2, Broxterman 0 2-2 2, K. Thomas 0 2-5 2, Stithem 0 1-3 1. Totals- 20 (3) 11-20 54.

SFT:  Workman 2 2-4 6, P. Johnson 2 1-2 5, Dunnaway 1 2-4 4, Stone 1 2-2 4, Costlow 2 0-0 4, Simmons 0 2-4 2, Herren 1 0-0 2, Guyle 1 0-1 2, Lankton 0 1-4 1. Totals- 10 10-21 30.

Team statistics:

Rebounding:  RV- 18 (Hanson 4, Jordan 4, T. Thomas 3); SFT- 26 (P. Johnson 5, K. Johnson 4, Simmons 4).

Assists:  RV- 10 (Hanson 3, Baker 2, K. Thomas 2); SFT- 4 (Simmons 3).

Turnovers:  RV- 17; SFT- 29.

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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