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A nightmarish night for Central girls

Being upset by a winless team was bad enough.

Then to have the school bus break down during the trip home on one of the coldest nights of the winter stretched the night's happenings from bad to surreal for the St. Croix Central girls basketball team.

The Panthers were knocked off by winless Plum City 54-53 last Thursday. The Panthers went into the game in third place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. But they are a year removed from being one of the teams that was hoping to pull off this kind of upset.

"It's certainly come full circle," said Central coach Shannon Berg. "Last year we'd hope to not get beat by 30, now we're a team other teams are gunning for."

The game was an offensive nightmare for the Panthers. They got 80 shots away in the game, which is an incredible total. But that was because they were getting a huge number of offensive rebounds on shots they were missing. The Panthers finished 20-80 from the field. Conversely, Plum City was red hot.

"Everything we tried, they couldn't miss. We tried zone, man-to-man, press...they outplayed us," Berg said. "I kept waiting for us to make our run and it never came."

The Panthers were down by four with 11 seconds left. Central guard Ella Olson then drained a three-pointer, Central's only successful three-pointer of the night.

Plum City then inbounded the ball, with Central guard Tracy Gillis stealing the pass. Gillis put up a shot at the buzzer, but it hit the rim and bounced out.

The long bus ride gave the team time to contemplate what went wrong in the game.

"It showed the girls you have to be at the top of your game every day," Berg said.

Rachel Anderson led the Panthers with 17 points, 17 rebounds and four steals in the game. Katrina Brummer also had 11 rebounds and Ella Olson supplied four assists.

Then to make matters worse, the team's bus broke down on the trip home. The one fortunate part is the bus broke down a mile from the home of one of the player's relatives. The bus driver was able to coax the bus to that home, where the team waited for an hour for another bus to arrive and haul them home.

The Panthers will be back on their home court this Friday, in a game against Elk Mound. Next Tuesday it's the Panthers' turn to take to the road, playing at Glenwood City.

Plum City 54, St. Croix Central 53



Gillis 3 0-1 6, Eddy 0 0-0 0, Kooiman 3 0-0 6, Olson 3 4-5 11, Holzer 1 0-0 2, Brummer 3 3-5 9, Anderson 7 3-8 17, Strickland 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 10-19 53.


Churchill 6 0-2 13, Peterson 2 3-5 8, Rhiel 2 1-2 5, Truax 5 3-5 13, Luebker 5 2-4 12. Totals 21 10-19 54.

St. Croix Central 14 13 11 15 53

Plum City 12 13 16 13 54

Three-point goals -- Olson, Churchill, Peterson. Fouled out -- Strickland. Total fouls -- St. Croix Central 18, Plum City 12.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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