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Tailspin drops Panthers to eighth in final D-SC standings

If the St. Croix Central girls basketball team isn't residing in The Twilight Zone, the Panthers are at least in the same neighborhood.

The Panthers finished the regular season with a six-game losing streak, falling in overtime to Spring Valley 52-47 last Thursday.

Because of injuries and fouls, the Panthers played about 30 seconds of the overtime with four players.

The Panthers led 14-11 at halftime. Then center Rachel Anderson injured her foot in the third quarter and was done for the game.

That gave Spring Valley room to take the lead. Then in the final minutes the Panthers made a big comeback, with Whitney Strickland and Ella Olson hitting three-pointers to tie the game. That left nine seconds in regulation, but the Panthers wouldn't let Spring Valley get another shot away.

Central then scored the first three points of the overtime. By this time the Panthers were down to five players because Strickland and Liz Frank had fouled out.

Guard Ella Olson was then struck in the face and had to be tended to on the court. That meant that she had to come out of the game. Central coach Shannon Berg didn't want to use a timeout, hoping that the four remaining girls could get a stop, but Spring Valley scored before the Panthers could get Olson back on the court. After that the Panthers were forced to foul to try getting the ball back.

Spring Valley was riding in the same boat as the Central girls. The Cards had lost seven straight games before winning last Thursday. The Cardinals also had their coach resign and had two players reinstated in a tumultuous week leading up to this game.

Berg tried to keep up her resolve after the game. She said the Panthers didn't play badly and that this is the fourth loss among the six that came down to the final seconds. She said the Panthers did hurt themselves with some questionable fouls, but they were fouls committed because the girls were playing aggressive defense.

After the previous loss to Mondovi, the Panthers spent most of their three practices working on patience and the work paid off.

"They showed the most patient to get a good shot that I've seen (from them) all year," Berg said.

Berg said that Frank, a freshman, made a promising impact in the game with eight rebounds and six assists. Berg said she also never expected that freshman Dani Brown would be able to contribute as much as she did Thursday after recovering quickly from a sprained ankle. Brown led the team with five steals.

Olson led the Panthers with 18 points in the game. Cristina Holzer had one of her best rebounding games, grabbing nine.

The Panthers opened WIAA Division 3 tournaments on Tuesday against Fall Creek. The winner of that game will face St. Croix Falls or Somerset this Thursday.

Berg said the Panthers were looking forward to getting a fresh start in the playoffs.

"It seems that we keep getting adversity coming our way. It's time that things turn around for us," she said.

Spring Valley 52, St. Croix Central 47



Gillis 2 3-4 7, Kooiman 0 2-2 2, Olson 7 1-1 18, Holzer 0 1-2 1, R.Anderson 1 0-0 2, Strickland 2 1-2 7, Frank 3 0-0 6, Brown 2 0-0 4. Totals 17 8-11 47.


Roatch 0 1-4 1, Tobias 0 2-2 2, Keehr 2 8-12 13, Turner 2 1-3 5, J.Anderson 7 1-5 15, Vorlicek 3 6-9 12, Wendlandt 1 1-2 4. Totals 15 20-37 52.

St. Croix Central 7 7 8 20 5 47

Spring Valley 3 8 13 18 10 52

Three-point goals -- Olson 3, Strickland 2, Keehr, Wendlandt. Fouled out -- Strickland, Frank. Total fouls -- St. Croix Central 25, Spring Valley 11.

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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