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St. Croix Central girls basketball bruised, beaten and ready to bounce back

St. Croix Central senior center Kayla Pabst (50) gets ready to put up a shot against Mondovi on Saturday.

With two of their senior leaders on the bench with injuries and six healthy bodies left by the end of the game, the St. Croix Central girls basketball team was just happy to be done with its home game against Mondovi on Saturday.

The Panthers weren’t able to match Mondovi’s physical style, losing 51-25.

The game got away from the Panthers right away. By the end of the first quarter the Lady Buffaloes’ lead reached double digits and the Panthers could never cut into the lead.

Central seniors Kayla Pabst and McKenzy Johnson both left the second half of the game with injuries. Pabst injured her knee that needed surgery a year ago and Johnson struck her head when she was knocked to the court. Panther coach Luke Fritsche said both injuries don’t appear to be serious and he hoped they would both be available by the end of this week.

The win raises Mondovi’s record in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference to 5-1 while the Panthers move to 2-4. The Panthers were led in scoring by Emma Landry with eight points. Johnson scored five points, all in the first quarter.

The Panthers saw a chance for a win get away from them last Thursday when they lost at Glenwood City 34-23. Defenses ruled this game. The Hilltoppers led 14-8 at halftime. The Panthers kept the game close until the final minutes, but couldn’t muster the offense to overtake the Toppers.

Glenwood City relied heavily on the offense of Jen Kopacz, who scored 18 points. Central was led by Pabst and Johnson, who scored six points each. Landry and Pabst combined for 15 rebounds while Johnson led the team with three steals.

“That was probably our most disappointing game,” Fritsche said. “Mentally we made mistakes and we turned the ball over too much.”

The Panthers have a pair of road games coming up next and it is an opportunity to get a winning streak started. On Friday the Panthers will play at Plum City, which has a 1-5 conference record. The Panthers play a non-conference game at Pepin-Alma next Tuesday. Pepin-Alma is 1-6 this season.