Huge first half propels Panthers to easy win

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


LYDIA RHUDE (21) and Plymouth teammate Gwen Streblow attempt to trap Berlin’s Mari Beltran in Friday’s ECC basketball game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley LYDIA RHUDE (21) and Plymouth teammate Gwen Streblow attempt to trap Berlin’s Mari Beltran in Friday’s ECC basketball game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers played a sensational first half which sparked them to a 72-23 drubbing of Berlin in an East Central Conference girls basketball game on Parents’ Night Friday at the PHS gym.

“I don’t think we could’ve played better than that first half,” said Panther head coach Brad Shutter. “We didn’t want to start slow and give them confidence.”

The Panthers were hitting on all cylinders on offense and defense in the first half which saw them build a whopping 53-13 halftime lead. This was the most points PHS has scored in one half this season.

PHS, which has won three in a row, upped its ECC-leading record to 5-0 and improved to 10-2 overall. The Panthers were ranked 10th in last week’s Associated Press Division 2 poll. The Indians fell to 1-4 in the ECC (3-8 overall).

The Panthers started the game red-hot from the field – hitting their first three shots, all from three-point range, to take a 9-0 lead with only 1:45 elapsed. Gwen Streblow drilled the first three-pointer, Lydia Rhude made the second and then Streblow drained another.

PHS dominated the rest of the half on both ends of the court. Rhude and Streblow led the Panthers’ firsthalf scoring barrage with 12 points each. Streblow finished the game with a team-high 16 points, followed by Rhude’s 14. PHS had four players who scored in double figures.

Plymouth’s aggressive, trapping defense forced 17 turnovers in the first half, including several on steals. The Panthers, who used a full-court press and half-court trap, converted many of the steals into transition baskets.

The Panthers outscored Berlin 25-2 in the last 10:12 of the first half. PHS scored four layups off steals during this stretch.

“We had a lot of real good passing. Our defensive intensity was very good. It’s so fun to watch all of the good team play,” said Shutter.

Berlin hit only 21 percent from the field.

“We did a good job of pressuring the ball and taking away what they were trying to do.

Emma Jewell and Rhude led PHS in assists with three each. Jessica Leider had a team-high seven rebounds, followed by Lexi Lautenschlaeger and Rhude with six each. Streblow led in steals with seven and PHS had a 14 total.

Shutter thought Kalei Hering and Streblow did a great job on defense against Mari Beltran and Mackenzie Kurczek, respectively. Beltran, who scored five and Kurczek with zero, are Berlin’s top scorers this season.

“Gwen and Lydia played real well on offense. Jessica and Lexi did a great job, offensively,” said Shutter.

“Emma is really starting to take off and shine [at point guard]. She’s so hard to guard off the dribble. She does a great job of dishing the ball off to whoever is open.”

Jewell is starting in place of senior Emily Majerus who is sidelined with a knee injury.

JUNIOR VARSITY GAMES

The Panthers’ JV 1 team outscored Berlin 35-17 in the second half en route to a 57-36 win.

Gabi Mella led a balanced PHS attack with 12 points, followed by Kalani Smith and Hana Goeser with 11 each. Jenna Iserloth and Goeser were the top rebounders with seven and six, respectively.

Mella ahd a team-high seven assists and five steals.

“We have been playing good defense and we have made our layups most of the time. It was a good team effort,” said PHS coach Mike Gumm.

PHS won the JV 2 contest, 31-23. Dallas Kreisa led the Panthers’ offense with eight points. Elise Bleck and Alexis Holloway added six and five, respectively.

“A solid team effort, led by some great team defense, led to our third win in a row in conference,” PHS coach Scott Milslagle.


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