Buccaneers end Panthers’ run

Published 10:53 pm Monday, March 7, 2011

After winning 17 of their last 18 games, the New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale Geneva girls’ basketball team’s season came to an abrupt end Monday at Minnesota State University-Mankato.

The Blue Earth Buccaneers held the Panthers (23-4, 15-1 Gopher) to a season-low 34 points and won 39-34.

The biggest difference was at the free throw line where the Buccaneers (18-8, 5-5 South Central) shot 14 of 22 and the Panthers just 0 of 1.

“Obviously the free throw line made the difference,” Panthers coach John Schultz said. “Blue Earth attacked the boards much more aggressively than us. This was the first game all year that we got outrebounded.

The Buccaneers had a 32-28 rebounding advantage and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.

Kristina Cole and Carlie Wagner each led the Panthers will 11 points Monday. Camille Driscoll scored a team-high 10 for the Buccaneers.

“People don’t realize that we had to replace three multi-year starters this season,” Schultz said. “These girls used heart and chemistry to put things together to be a great team.”

The Panthers will lose only one senior, Kristina Cole, to graduation this year.

The Buccaneers, who lost to the Panthers 66-62 during the regular season on Dec. 10, will face St. Peter (23-3, 9-1 South Central) Friday in the Section 2AA championship at 8 p.m. Friday at MSU-Mankato. The Buccaneers were swept by St. Peter in the regular season, losing twice by at least 20 points.