Panthers’ win streak to nine

TWO RIVERS – Plymouth’s defense clamped down in the second half to key a 49-47 girls basketball win over host Two Rivers Thursday.

The Eastern Wisconsin Conference game was the regular-season finale for both teams. The Panthers, who extended their winning streak to nine, finished second in the EWC with a 12-2 record and improved to 18-4 overall. The Purple Raiders placed third in the league at 9-5 and dropped to 13-9 overall.

PHS opens Division 2 regional action Friday at home against Ashwaubenon in a semifinal game at 7 p.m. The Panthers, a No. 3 seed in sectional 2, and No. 6-seeded Ashwaubenon received firstround byes. The regional finals are scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m. at the highest seed.

The Panthers overcame a sixpoint deficit in the third quarter by outscoring Two Rivers 13-6 to go ahead 37-34 heading into the fourth. Junior guard-forward Kaily Moegenburg sparked the PHS at- tack in the third period with nine points on three consecutive threepoint goals. Marissa Grapentine added a three-pointer as all four of Plymouth’s field goals in the quarter were treys.

PHS led most of the fourth period. Senior forward Rachael Cecka made 7 of 8 free throws in the quarter which sealed the victory. Cecka led the Panthers in scoring with 16 points and was 10-for-13 at the foul line.

The Purple Raiders closed to within 49-47 after Marissa Broehm hit a three-pointer with about five seconds left but then PHS was able to run out the clock.

PHS led 12-8 after one quarter and then Two Rivers outscored the Panthers 20-12 in the second to grab a 28-24 halftime lead.

“The girls stepped up and played really hard in the second half. We picked it up a notch on defense and our intensity level increased,” said Panther head coach Brad Shutter.

“This was a good road win. Two Rivers is always a tough place to play. It’s a long drive there and we didn’t have a lot to play for because we had already wrapped up second in the conference and our playoff seeding.

“I give Two Rivers a lot of credit. They definitely played hard and played pretty good defense,” Shutter said.

PHS forced an impressive 27 turnovers by Two Rivers and committed only eight. Cecka and Rachel Holzhaeuser led the Panthers in steals with four each.

Cecka also led PHS in rebounding with 12, followed by Holzhaeuser with six. Marissa Grapentine had a team-high three assists and Cecka made two.

Junior post player Mackenzie Walesh keyed the Purple Raiders’ attack with 18 points. Walesh shot well on the night with 5-for-8 from the field and 7-for-8 at the foul line. She also had a team-high 12 boards.

Shutter thought Holzhaeuser did a very good job on defense against freshman guard-forward Alexi Walesh. Holzhaueser played a key role in holding Walesh, one of Two Rivers’ top scorers this season, to eight points, including zero in the second half.

“The girls have a positive feeling going into the playoffs,” said Shutter.

“We’ve had a great season, no matter what happens in the playoffs. We’re playing our best basketball of the season now.”

JUNIOR VARSITY GAME

The Panther JV capped off an outstanding season with a 46-35 win. PHS, which finished with a 19-game winning streak, won the EWC JV title with a 14-0 record and posted a 21-1 overall mark.

“This was a great group of girls to work with and I’m proud of them,” said PHS coach Mike Gumm.

Jordyn Pieper led the Panthers’ offense with 15 points, followed by Hannah Mauk and Karly Knaus with 11 and 10, respectively. Knaus, who came off the bench, hit six key points in the fourth quarter when PHS outscored Two Rivers 16-6 to pull way.

Abby Payne and Olivia Jankowski paced the Panther rebounders with 10 each. Morgan Lisowe and Pieper had a teamhigh three assists apiece. Pieper also led in steals with five.

“We didn’t play our best game in the first half but we stepped it up in the second half,” Gumm said.

PLYMOUTH 49

TWO RIVERS 47

Score by Quarters
Plymouth…...........12 12 13 12 – 49
Two Rivers..............8 20 6 13 – 47

Plymouth scoring: Mackenzie Haese 3, Rachael Cecka 16, Kaily Moegenburg 11, Sophia Kiela 3, Marissa Grapentine 9, Rachel Holzhaeuser 3, Nikki Reil 4.

Two Rivers scoring: Aly Wanek 3, Alexi Walesh 8, Marissa Broehm 11, Mackenzie 18, Allie Basken 7.

Three-point goals: Haese 1, Grapentine 2, Moegenburg 3, A. Walesh 1, Broehm 2, M. Walesh 1, Basken 1.

Field goals: Plymouth 14-42, 33%; Two Rivers 14-32, 44%. Free throws: Plymouth 15-26, 58%; Two Rivers 14- 20, 70%.

Rebounds: Plymouth 32, Two Rivers 36. Turnovers: Plymouth 8, Two Rivers 27.


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