St. Croix Central girls basketball team records second win in week
The belief among the St. Croix Central girls basketball players is that they are playing their best ball of the season.
The Panthers registered two wins last week, with the second coming in front of a Senior Night crowd in Hammond last Friday. That's when the Panthers defeated Alma-Pepin 63-50 for Central's fifth win of the season.
Central's girls also played well the previous night, staying in contention until the final moments in a 50-40 loss to Boyceville.
It took the Panthers a quarter to adjust to Alma-Pepin's fast-paced, scrambling style on Friday. Central trailed 17-12 after a quarter, but the Panthers put together one of their biggest quarters of the season in the second. They scored 24 points in the quarter, with sophomore guard Lauren Moll scoring half those points. She also led the Panthers with four steals.
"As soon as (Moll) came in, the energy level changed," said Central coach Luke Fritsche.
The seniors put together a big effort for the Senior Night crowd. Guard Laura DeSmith led the Panthers with 16 points and she had a strong performance in guarding Alma-Pepin's leading scorer. Arinn DiSalvo contributed 12 points and nine rebounds and Taylor Refsnider added seven rebounds.
Fritsche said Alma-Pepin's frenetic pace was a good test of the Panthers' poise. He said the Panthers quickly recognized that there were scoring opportunities available if they could withstand the first wave of Alma-Pepin's attack.
The win was the second of the week for the Panthers. The previous Monday they topped Elmwood 46-34.
Central was competitive in last Thursday's loss to Boyceville, but the Panthers couldn't corral Bulldog scoring leader Abbey Bird, who finished with 19 points.
The Panthers were able to establish an inside scoring attack against Boyceville. Refsnider led the team with 13 points and the Panthers got good work from post reserves Kelly Harrington and Emma Landry.
The Panthers ran into problems facing Baldwin-Woodville's trapping halfcourt defense on Monday. The Panthers stayed close through most of the first half, but B-W shut down the Panthers' scoring options in the second half to win 47-21.
DeSmith led the Panthers with seven points and four steals. Moll scored four points and led the team with five rebounds.
The Panthers received the 10th seed in the WIAA regional tournament seeding that was done over the weekend. By receiving the seventh seed, the Panthers will open Division 3 tournament play next Tuesday at Spooner. The Rails are the seventh seed in the bracket. Spooner has a 6-13 record.