New baby and nice winIt was an eventful week for the St. Croix Central girls basketball team. Central coach Shannon Donnelly went into labor early last Tuesday morning, delivering her son, Kellen.
It was an eventful week for the St. Croix Central girls basketball team.
Central coach Shannon Donnelly went into labor early last Tuesday morning, delivering her son, Kellen. This is the second child for Donnelly and her husband, Eric. The first child was born two years ago, also during the basketball season.
By 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Donnelly had sent a text message to assistant coach Lindsay Bruder that Bruder would be taking over the team. That decision had to be made quickly, because the Panthers played at Spring Valley last Tuesday.
The Panthers played excellent ball for three quarters in Tuesday’s game, but couldn’t overcome a cold stretch in the fourth quarter. That resulted in the Panthers losing 52-45.
The news was better for the Panthers on Friday. They went to Glenwood City and earned a dramatic 58-57 win over the Hilltoppers.
Friday’s win came down to a thrilling finish. The Panthers trailed by one point with 14 seconds left in the game. Bruder called a timeout, setting up a play for sophomore Nikki Brooks. The play was intended for Brooks to take a shot from near the three-point arc. Brooks saw a lane to the basket and she went for it. Brooks pulled up for a difficult fadeaway shot from near the baseline, draining the shot with four seconds on the clock. The Hilltoppers called a timeout, but Central forced a turnover on Glenwood City’s final possession.
The win completed an excellent team effort for the Panthers. Central sizzled at the start, jumping out to an 11-2 lead. The Panthers went from hot to cold. Glenwood City managed a big comeback and by the end of the first quarter the Hilltoppers led 19-13. By halftime the Panthers came back to tie the score at 27-27. The Hilltoppers led by as many as six points in the fourth quarter before the Panthers came back.
Central was led on Friday by senior Cami Pace. She scored 18 points, led the team with 15 rebounds, blocked three shots and stole the ball twice.
“All-around, it was her best game this season,” Bruder said.
Brooks finished the game with 15 points, 13 of them coming in the second half. She also had five assists, as did Ashley Adkins.
Against Spring Valley, the Panthers and Cards stayed close throughout the first three quarters. Spring Valley got a burst in the fourth quarter and the Panthers couldn’t match it.
Central got a big game from junior Sarah Hawkins, who scored 18 points. Brooks scored nine points and Pace scored eight points.
The Panthers knew they had a tough assignment when they were scheduled to play at Mondovi on Monday. That game lived up to its billing, with Mondovi winning 69-30.
A rough start led to the Panthers falling behind 19-3 in the first quarter. They never recovered.
“Mondovi is a good team,” Bruder said. “We talked about not being tentative, but we were.”
Mondovi’s height and athletic ability had a big effect on the Panthers’ shooting. The Panthers were able to get 55 shots from the field, but they only made seven of them.
Brooks led the Panthers with 10 points in the loss and Hawkins scored nine points.
This is a busy stretch for the Panthers. They play at home on Thursday against Elk Mound. They have another home game on Saturday, facing Boyceville in a 2:30 p.m. start. The Panthers will be on the road next Tuesday, at Plum City.