St. Croix Central girls basketball upends Elmwood
A balanced effort at both ends of the court returned the St. Croix Central girls basketball team to the win column on Monday.
The Panthers were able to knock off Elmwood 46-34 in Hammond. This moves Central into a tie with Elmwood for seventh in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings.
Elmwood beat the Panthers 41-36 earlier this season, but this time the Panthers wanted to prove that their defense could shut down the Raiders.
"A lot of our girls took individual pride in shutting girls down," said Central coach Luke Fritsche.
That started with Central senior guard Laura DeSmith, who was matched up against Elmwood leading scorer Makayla Brunner all night. Brunner scored 21 points the first time against Central, but this time she was limited to 12 points.
The balance was just as evident in Central's offensive play. DeSmith and McKenzy Johnson each scored 11 points, with Taylor Refsnider and Arinn DiSalvo finishing with nine points each. Kelly Harrington came off the bench to score four points. DiSalvo led the Panthers with nine rebounds.
Loss to Colfax
The 42-15 loss to Colfax last Friday showed how close the Panthers are from being able to compete with top D-SC teams. Friday's win raised Colfax's D-SC record to 13-0. Yet, only one other D-SC team has been able to hold Colfax to fewer points. That was second place Elk Mound, which lost to the Vikings 41-28.
Fritsche said the Panthers' defense drew the attention of Colfax coach Joe Doucette.
"Joe was very complimentary of the girls and how they played," Fritsche said.
Central was able to force stops with strong play from its 1-3-1 zone defense. The Panthers also gave a dedicated rebounding effort that limited Colfax to one shot on most possessions.
Fritsche said the Panthers need to have more confidence and rush their shots less on offense. He said the team generated a number of good shots in the first half, but the hurried attempts were usually off target. That led to the Panthers trailing 29-4 at halftime. Central then opened the second half by scoring the first four points and played much more competitively over the second half.
Taylor Refsnider led the Panthers with five points and Arinn DiSalvo grabbed five rebounds to lead the team. The Panthers also blocked five shots in the game.
The Panthers end this week with a pair of home games as they move toward the weekend's WIAA regional tournament seeding meeting. The Panthers will host Boyceville at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. The girls will play at home at 5:30 p.m. on Friday against Alma-Pepin. This will be Senior Night for the Panthers, as part of a varsity double-header, with the Panther boys hosting Spring Valley at 7:30 p.m.
Central's girls will also be in action next Monday, playing at Baldwin-Woodville.