Panthers take two of three as regular season winds down


Gabrielle Steiner of Monticello (2) goes for a layup in the Feb. 4 home win over Northeast. (Photos by Pete Temple)

Tori McDonald of the Panthers puts up a three-point shot Feb. 7 at Cascade.
GIRLS BASKETBALL
By: 
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

     Monticello closed in on the end of its girls basketball regular season last week with three games, winning two of them.

     The outcomes gave Monticello a River Valley Conference record of 14-3. The Panthers, 15-5 overall, had a makeup game at Mid-Prairie scheduled for Feb. 10, and then will head into the postseason Saturday, Feb. 15, 5 p.m. at home against Mount Vernon.

     Monticello’s busy week started with a 62-54 home victory over Northeast of Goose Lake Feb. 4. It was a markedly different game from their first meeting Jan. 7 in Goose Lake, when the Panthers jumped to a 25-2 first quarter lead.

     This time, the Panthers led by as many as nine in the first half, and took a 26-22 lead into halftime against Northeast.

     “They came out in man-to-man and got into our faces,” Monticello coach Donnie Kremer said. “I thought at times we handled it pretty well at times we lost our composure a bit.”

     The Rebels rallied to tie the game 34-34, and took a 41-40 lead with 2:19 left in the third quarter. A layup by Gabrielle Guilford a few seconds later gave Monticello the lead for good, although it remained close most of the way.

     The Panthers had leads ranging from one to seven through the first 6½ minutes of the final quarter. A three-pointer by the Rebels’ Alexis Ehlers cut the Monti lead to 57-54 with 1:55 to play, but Northeast was unable to score again.

     Tori McDonald went to the free throw line on two different occasions, making three of four, and the Panthers led 60-54 with 54.5 seconds to go. Then, McDonald made a steal at midcourt and got the ball to Gabrielle Steiner, who scored on a layup for an eight-point lead with 32.1 seconds left, sealing the deal.

     “I thought we were very efficient in our half court sets, especially late in the game,” Kremer said. “I was happy with how we executed down the stretch. I thought we showed very good mental toughness the last three minutes of the game.”

     The Panthers then played at Cascade, the top-ranked team in Class 2A, and lost 46-35.

     Cascade jumped to an early 10-2 lead, and held leads of 12-5 after one quarter and 27-13 at halftime.

     “We had some trouble taking care of the ball at times in the first half, and they converted our turnovers into easy buckets,” Kremer said.

     To their credit, the Panthers battled back, outscoring Cascade 15-8 in the third quarter to trim the deficit to seven, 35-28. Then, a three-point basket by Tori McDonald – one of four she made Friday – pulled Monticello to within four with 6:52 still to play.

     “I was extremely happy with the way we settled down and started executing the offense perfectly,” the coach said. “We made a few adjustments in our approach to their 2-3 (zone defense) and it worked out very well.”

     The Cougars recovered, however, going on an 9-1 run over the next six minutes to pull out to a 12-point lead with 52 seconds left.

     McDonald finished with 12 points, shooting 4-for-5 from three-point range. Gabrielle Guilford had 10 points and three steals, and Gabrielle Steiner scored 10 points and had two assists. Jordan Kuper had eight rebounds and three assists.

     Monticello then traveled to Iowa City Regina Saturday for a makeup game against the Regals; the original meeting Jan. 11 was postponed.

     Monticello rode a dominating performance in the middle two quarters – outscoring Regina 27-12 – to a 44-30 victory.

     “It is tough to play back-to-back against quality teams, but I thought we did a great job of defending once again,” Kremer said. “I thought we passed the ball very well. We found the open girl against their zone, and made the shots. I was extremely happy with the effort of our girls the whole game.”

     Karli Recker shot 4-for-8 from three-point range Saturday and led the Panthers with 12 points. Kuper had eight points, 12 rebounds, five assist and two blocks. Steiner had eight points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. McDonald added seven points, four rebounds and four assists.

Early start time

     The regional quarterfinal game for the Panthers Saturday, Feb. 15 at home against Mount Vernon (6-14) will have a start time of 5 p.m., rather than the traditional 7 p.m. tipoff. All sites within the regional are using the earlier start time.

 

Feb. 4

N’east  10 12 22 10 – 54

Monti   11 15 21 15 – 62

     MONTICELLO (62) – Gabrielle Steiner 5-9 3-7 14, Tori McDonald 3-6 5-6 11, Gabrielle Guilford 5-9 0-0 10, Karli Recker 2-4 3-4 7, Jordan Kuper 8-14 2-4 18, Carly Hayen 0-2 2-2 2, Lydia Recker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-45 15-23 62.

     Three-pointers: Steiner.

     Rebounds: Monticello 32 (Kuper 10, McDonald 8, Steiner 7).

     Total fouls: Monticello 11.

 

Feb. 7

Monti        5    8 15   7 – 35

Cascade 12 15   8 11 – 46

     MONTICELLO (35) – Gabrielle Steiner 4-8 1-2 10, Tori McDonald 4-6 0-0 12, Gabrielle Guilford 4-6 0-0 10, Karli Recker 0-4 0-0 0, Jordan Kuper 1-4 0-0 2, Emily Schlarmann 0-0 1-1 1, Carly Hayen 0-1 0-2 0, Lydia Recker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-29 2-5 35.

     Three-pointers: McDonald 4, Guilford 2, Steiner;

     Rebounds: Monticello 15 (Kuper 8).

     Total fouls: Monticello 14.

 

Feb. 8

Monti    6 10 17 11 – 44

Regina  4   3    9 14 – 30

     MONTICELLO (44) – Gabrielle Steiner 4-8 0-0 8, Tori McDonald 2-4 3-3 7, Gabrielle Guilford 2-6 0-0 4, Karli Recker 4-9 0-0 12, Jordan Kuper 4-12 0-0 8, Carly Hayen 1-2 0-0 2, Lydia Recker 1-1 0-2 2, Emily Schlarmann 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 18-42 4-7 44.

     IOWA CITY REGINA (30) – Steph Stenger 0-1 0-0 0, Annie Gahan 5-14 0-2 12, Grace Gaarde 2-9 0-0 6, Claire Gaarde 1-3 0-0 3, Sam Greving 3-9 3-5 9, Abby Clark 0-2 0-0 0, Alli Dillon 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 11-40 3-7 30.

     Three-pointers: K. Recker 4; Gagan 2, G. Gaarde 2, C. Gaarde.

     Rebounds: Monticello 29 (Kuper 12, Steiner 4, McDonald 4), Regina 29.

     Total fouls: Regina 10, Monticello 8.

 

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