Furious rally: Panthers finish with 15-2 run to top Bellevue

Maddie Fellinger of Monticello (in white) looks for a passing lane during the season-opening game against Bellevue Nov. 21 in Monticello. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Jordan Kuper of the Panthers goes up for a lay-up against Bellevue.

Lauren Ries sets up a three-point shot in the Panther win over Bellevue.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     When Bellevue’s Giana Michels sank a three-point shot with 4:24 to play, putting the Comets up 40-31, it looked very much like the Monticello High School girls basketball team’s opening game would end up as a loss.

     Then it happened. Lauren Ries hit back-to-back three-pointers, one from the left corner, one from the right, and the Panthers were suddenly within three points.

     It sparked a 15-2 run over the final four minutes to push Monticello to a 46-42 win over Bellevue Tuesday, Nov. 21 at MHS.

     “This was a very big win to open the season,” Monticello coach Donnie Kremer said. “We knew it would be a tough game, and that it would take four quarters to get the job done. I was extremely happy how well we played down the stretch.”

     In all, Monticello outscored Bellevue 20-6 in the fourth quarter. Ries was one of three Panthers to finish the game with double-digit scoring, with 15 points and seven rebounds. Jordan Kuper had 13 points and nine rebounds. Taylor McDonald had 10 points and five assists.

     Bellevue led almost the entire way after jumping to a 12-6 first quarter lead, with Kuper scoring all six of Monticello’s points.

     The Comets led by as many as nine in the second quarter, and took a 19-13 lead into halftime.

     The largest Bellevue lead was 13, at 32-19, midway through the third quarter.

     “Bellevue was playing faster and harder than us early,” Kremer said. “We did not take care of the ball very well in the first three quarters.”

     McDonald hit a pair of three-pointers late in the period, but the Panthers still trailed 36-26 with one quarter to play.

     After the Michels three-pointer and the two by Ries, Bellevue scored again to lead 42-37 with 2:51 to play. That, however, would be the last time the Comets scored.

     “Defensively we talked about defending harder and communicating better,” Kremer said. “If we did these things, we would get steals and create easy offensive opportunities. I thought as a team everyone worked very hard to take away the passing lanes, and we had help everywhere.”

     Baskets by Maddie Lambert and Caitlyn Cruise cut the margin to one, 42-41, with 1:56 left. Then, Kuper scored off a pass from McDonald to give Monticello a 43-42 lead with 1:10 left.

     Two steals – one by Lambert and one by Ries – kept the Panthers ahead, and Ries sealed the win with two clutch free throws, putting Monticello up 46-42 with just 4.6 seconds to play.

     Ries finished with five steals and two blocks. Lambert had four assists.


Nov. 21

Bellevue  12   7  17    6 ­– 42

Monti         6   7  13  20 – 46

     BELLEVUE (42) – Kailey Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Lindsey Banowetz 4-11 2-2 11, Rebecca Schroeder 1-8 1-4 3, Giana Michels 6-16 1-1 15, Emma Kelchen 1-4 0-0 2, Alyssa Rubel 0-3 0-0 0, Teresa Paulsen 4-4 3-5 11, Brianna Laughlin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-46 7-12 42.

     MONTICELLO (46) – Taylor McDonald 3-6 1-2 10, Maddie Fellinger 1-1 1-2 3, Lauren Ries 4-10 5-8 15, Maddie Lambert 1-5 0-0 2, Jordan Kuper 6-10 1-6 13, Caitlyn Cruise 1-2 1-2 3, Savanah Kremer 0-0 0-0 0, Carly Hayen 0-3 0-0 0, Tori McDonald 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 16-40 9-20 46.

     Three-pointers: Michels 2, Banowetz; Ta. McDonald 3, Ries 2.

     Rebounds: Monticello 33 (Kuper 9, Ries 7), Bellevue 30.

     Total fouls: Bellevue 21, Monticello 14.



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