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Central girls pounce on Prescott, win 46-38

Teams generally don't play well at the start of their seasons.

The St. Croix Central girls basketball team proved to be an exception to that rule.

The Panthers pounced on Prescott last Thursday, taking a 21-4 lead in the first quarter of the game.

After that the Panthers had to overcome some adversity through injury and foul trouble, managing to complete a 46-38 win.

The win is the first in the varsity coaching career of Central coach Luke Fritsche.

The win also gives the Panthers revenge against the team that knocked them out of the WIAA playoffs last winter.

The standout in Thursday's game was Central senior Sarah Hawkins. She has long been one of the better players in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference. In this game she showed that she has elevated her game to an even higher level.

"She was absolutely the difference maker," Fritsche said. "I can't say enough about her leadership."

Hawkins finished the game with 23 points, half of the team's final total.

Guard Ashley Adkins scored nine points, including hitting several clutch free throws in the fourth quarter.

"She's pretty much automatic from the line," Fritsche said.

One of the questions for the Panthers entering the season was who would establish themselves as a post player. Miranda Holzer went a long way toward that answering that question against Prescott. Holzer led the Panthers with 12 rebounds, including 10 at the defensive end of the court.

The Panthers are hoping they can keep Hawkins out of foul trouble this season. By having Holzer establish herself as a viable rebounder, Hawkins won't have to attack the boards so feverishly. The Central coaches hope that will help to keep her foul total down.

Hawkins and Nikki Brooks both had to miss parts of Thursday's game due to foul trouble. The Panthers had to play most of Thursday's game without senior guard Lindsay Chinander. Chinander was hit in the face during the first quarter of the game. The coaches decided to be cautious and hold her out for the rest of the game.

Fritsche said Emily West was one of the reserves who stepped in and played well when the Panthers needed someone from the bench to be productive.

Fritsche said the Panthers will be concentrating on ball handling before their next game, which will be on Friday at Ellsworth. The Panthers had 22 turnovers at Prescott. Fritsche said the girls played with poise for most of the game, then had a couple panicked stretches where they had most of their turnovers.

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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