Panthers hold off Falls for first win

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


JORDYN PIEPER, Plymouth guard, drives past Sheboygan Falls’ Erika Van Engen in Thursday’s EWC basketball game. The Panthers’ Kaily Moegenburg looks on. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley JORDYN PIEPER, Plymouth guard, drives past Sheboygan Falls’ Erika Van Engen in Thursday’s EWC basketball game. The Panthers’ Kaily Moegenburg looks on. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers built a 26-10 halftime lead, fueled by a swarming defense and sophomore guard Jordyn Pieper, and then staved off a second-half rally by Sheboygan Falls to earn a 45-35 win here Thursday night.

It was the Eastern Wisconsin Conference girls basketball opener for both teams. PHS improved to 1-2 overall. The Falcons, the defending EWC champions, and the Panthers figure to contend for the league title this season.

“This is a great win. We played outstanding except for a 3-4-minute stretch,” said Panther head coach Brad Shutter.

“The girls played so hard. Our _ _ defense and intensity were the biggest keys.”

Pieper, a sophomore point guard, put on a terrific offensive display in the first quarter with nine points which sparked her team to an 11-6 lead going into the second period. During one stretch she scored seven straight points for PHS on a three-point goal, a short jumper and a fast-break layup which made it 11-3.

Pieper finished the first half with 11 of her teamhigh and personal best 15 points.

The Panthers outscored Falls 15-4 in the second quarter with six players contributing points, led by Kaylee Kuhn’s four, including a trey. PHS, mixing man-to-man and zone defenses, held the Falcons to only one field goal in the second period.

In the first half, the Panthers’ smothering defense allowed few open looks and forced several turnovers. PHS, playing an up-tempo style, outhustled Falls for most of the opening half on loose balls, rebounds and in transition.

PHS increased its lead to 33- 14 when Gwen Streblow drained a three-pointer with 5:20 left in the third quarter. The 19-point advantage was the Panthers’ largest of the game. Falls committed six turnovers in the first five minutes of the third period, many of which were caused by the Panthers’ relentless pressure on defense.

The Falcons finally got their offense rolling as they went on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to 33-22 with 2:00 left in the third quarter. Karlie Beeck’s six points on a pair of treys keyed the comeback. PHS led 37-24 after three quarters.

Falls, which really picked up its intensity in the final half, tightened up on defense with a lot of pressure in the fourth period. An 11-4 spurt pulled the Falcons to within 41-35 with 4:31 remaining. Katie DePagter scored Falls’ final four points during the stretch.

The Falcons’ hopes of pulling off a big comeback win were squashed by cold shooting and turnovers down the stretch. Falls, trailing 41-35, suffered turnovers on three straight possessions and went scoreless the final 4:31 after DePagter had hit two foul shots.

Streblow, a freshman forward, contributed 13 points, including eight in the second half. The scoring by Streblow and Pieper was huge because senior forward Kaily Moegenburg, an All-EWC second-team pick last season, got in foul trouble early and sat out most of the first half.

Moegenburg had only two points but contributed a team-high nine rebounds, three assists and four steals. Hannah Mauk also had three assists.

“Streblow and Pieper played really well,” said Shutter. “Olivia Jankowski did a good job off the bench. Hannah Mauk did a nice job and Kaylee Kuhn hit a big three in the first half.”

“We hung in there,” said Falcon head coach LeRoy Hamilton. “The girls were a little nervous at the beginning of the game. They might have been trying too hard.

“We settled down in the second half. We hit shots and we were more patient.”

Beeck paced Falls in scoring with 10. Erika Van Engen had a team-high six rebounds and Kim Schwobe contributed five.

JUNIOR VARSITY GAME

In junior varsity play, the Panthers cruised to a 60-23 win.

“We played as a team and our defense was great,” said PHS coach Mike Gumm.

Ten of the 11 Panthers scored, led by Abi Smrz with 12 points. Kalei Hering and Lydia Rhude added 11 each. Smrz also had a team-high eight boards.

Hering paced PHS in assists with four and Emily Majerus had a team-high five steals.

Mia Bartel led Falls’ offense with nine points.


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