Shooting accuracy holding back St. Croix Central girls basketballThe defense being played by the St. Croix Central girls basketball team has been top quality.
The defense being played by the St. Croix Central girls basketball team has been top quality.
But at some point, even with the best defense, the offense has to produce for the team to win. That’s where the Panther girls were at after their 38-30 non-conference loss at Prescott last Thursday.
The second quarter has been treacherous for the Panthers in recent games. They were outscored 16-6 in the second stanza at Prescott, leaving them behind 22-11 at halftime. That’s the same deficit the Panthers faced in their recent loss to Elk Mound, where the team’s play dropped off sharply in the second half.
At halftime on Thursday, the Panthers decided they didn’t want a repeat of the second half against Elk Mound. They started the third quarter with a scoring burst that cut Prescott’s lead to five. The deficit stayed in the 4-6 point range until the final moments of the game.
Central coach Luke Fritsche said he had no complaints with the team’s defensive performance at Prescott. The Panther coaches even introduced full-court pressure for the first time this season late in the game in hopes it would create some quick points.
“We’re in an offensive slump,” Fritsche said, using the 26, 31 and 30 points scored in the last three games to validate his message. “Defensively, we’re playing well. Now we’ve got to get some shots to fall.”
Fritsche said getting the ball into the post is something that seems to stimulate the offense’s production. Taylor Refsnider hit two shots from the post to help spur the Panthers’ comeback in the third quarter. Kayla Pabst has also been a productive scorer in the post. Pabst has been an effective rebounder, leading the team with 10 on Thursday.
Guard McKenzy Johnson led the Panthers with 11 points Thursday. Several of her shots were created when the Panthers got the ball inside, with the post players kicking the ball back out to her on the perimeter.
One of the bright spots from this game was the Panthers’ reduction in turnovers. The Panthers gave the ball away 18 times, one of their best totals of the season. Fritsche said the goal has been to get the turnover total below 20 per game, because the Panthers need those additional possessions to help get the offense rolling.
The Panthers complete the 2012 portion of their schedule with their toughest assignment of the season. The Panthers will host Colfax, one of the top-ranked teams in the state and the defending Dunn-St. Croix Conference champion, this Friday.