Panthers cruise to win, finish 14-0 in ECC

BERLIN – The Plymouth Panthers climaxed their East Central Conference girls basketball championship season unbeaten with a 77-44 pummeling of Berlin here Thursday night.

PHS finished 14-0 in the ECC and 20-2 overall for the regular season. The Panthers, ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press Division 2 poll last week, ran their winning streak to 14. Berlin finished 3-11 in ECC play and 6-16 overall for the regular season.

“Once we won the conference, another one of our goals was to go undefeated in the conference. It’s always good to be able to achieve your goal,” said Panther head coach Brad Shutter.

“It’s not easy to win every game in the conference. This is a very good accomplishment..”

Shutter said the biggest key for the Panthers’ success this season has been their offense which is averaging about 70 points per game.

“I’m amazed by our ability to shoot the ball like we have this season. To average 70 points a game is outstanding,” he said.

The Panthers have had a very balanced offense with multiple weapons. PHS has had several games this season with three or four girls scoring in double figures.

Shutter said his defense has been good even though some of the opponents’ point totals may not reflect that. Because of the Panthers’ up- tempo style on offense that leads to a lot of possessions for PHS and the opposition.

The Panthers exploded to a 40-14 halftime lead against Berlin, led by Lydia Rhude’s hot shooting. Rhude, a senior guard, erupted for 14 points in the first half, including three threepointers. Senior guard Kalei Hering contributed eight points in the half for PHS.

Rhude led a balanced PHS offense with 17 points. She was an outstanding 80 percent (4 of 5) from three-point range. Three other Panthers scored in double figures – Hering with 11, Emma Jewell, 13 and Skyler Gosse 10. All 10 Panthers tallied points.

Jewell dished out a team-high five assists and Gwen Streblow had four. Lexi Lautenschlaeger led in rebounding with nine, followed by Megan Goeser’s six. Streblow led in steals with three.

PHS shot a strong 51 percent from the field and held the Indians to only 33 percent. The Panthers attempted 21 more free throws than Berlin and outscored the Indians 17-8 at the foul line.

“Everyone contributed. The transition stuff [scoring] was huge for us,” said Shutter whose team scored several baskets on fast breaks, including many off steals.

Shutter thought Rhude, Hering, Jewell and Gosse played well.

Junior guard Mackenzie Kurczek led the Indians in scoring with 21 – 16 in the second half when she hit all four of her three-balls.

PHS earned a No. 2 seed in its D-2 regional and received a firstround bye. The Panthers will host the winner of the Kewaskum-West Bend East game in the semifinals on Friday at 7 p.m. Kewaskum, a member of the ECC, is seeded No. 7 and East is No. 10.

The regional finals are set for Saturday at 7 p.m. at the highest seed.


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