Panthers stumble in regional semis to Spartans

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


LEXI LAUTENSCHLAEGER, Plymouth senior, drives to the basket past West Bend West’s Katie Hayes in Friday’s regional basketball game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley LEXI LAUTENSCHLAEGER, Plymouth senior, drives to the basket past West Bend West’s Katie Hayes in Friday’s regional basketball game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers dug themselves a big hole in the first half and it was an uphill struggle the rest of the game as they fell to visiting West Bend West, 61-40, in Division 2 girls regional basketball semifinal action Friday night.

PHS, a No. 4 seed, finished a strong season with an 18-5 record. The Spartans, seeded No. 5, lost in the finals Saturday night to top-seeded Beaver Dam, 75-57, to finish 18-7. Beaver Dam, the defending D-2 state champion, is ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press D-2 poll.

West, sparked by 6-foot-1 sophomore post Maddison Baker, stormed to a 25-7 lead at the 4:30 mark in the first half. Baker scored 11 points in the first half as the Spartans took a 27-15 halftime lead. Baker dominated the paint in the first half with several rebounds and three blocked shots.

PHS had an 8-2 run in the final 2:32 of the first half which put a dent in West’s lead. Senior post Jessica Leider keyed the rally with five points.

The Panthers shaved West’s lead to six on five occasions in the first seven minutes of the second half but were unable to get any closer. The Spartans went on a 12-2 tear to mount a 52-36 lead with 4:49 left. PHS was hurt by five turnovers during the run, two of which led to baskets.

The Spartans sank 15 free throws in the second half. Their final 11 points were on free throws which helped seal the win.

“We ran out of gas in the second half but I give West Bend West credit. They hit all their free throws down the stretch to keep us at bay,” said Panther head coach Brad Shutter.

“They played a very good man-to-man defense and made it difficult for us to get the ball inside. Their big girl [Baker] hurt is in the first half. I was impressed with Baker.”

Baker had a game-high 19 points and 19 rebounds.

Leider paced PHS in scoring with 17 and boards, seven. Carly Lilek led in assists with three. Emma Jewell and Alesha Kaat- Fohr had a team-best three steals each.

PHS, which missed several layups, shot only 29 percent from the field.

“Maddison Baker kept us in the game in the first half. In the second half everyone got involved,” said Spartan head coach Joe Pintens.

“The biggest key for us was to control the paint. We did pretty well in our 2-1-2 zone in the second half.”

West dominated the boards with a 27-20 rebounding edge.

“Our girls stepped up in the second half. The girls bounced back real well [after PHS rallied in the second half],” said Pintens.


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