By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY – The girls’ basketball team had their first game of the season on Tuesday, November 20 against St. Croix Central who beat the Hilltoppers 47-42.
It was a fairly typical first game full of nerves and beginning mistakes like traveling, double-dribbles and plenty of fouls.
Defensively, the Toppers were very aggressive on the court. Senior Janessa Ullom was not shy about getting her hands on the ball and fighting for it. This earned her 13 attempts at the free-throw line of which she sunk three.
Offensively the Toppers were a little rusty in their first game as they seemed to struggle to get the ball to the net.
There were several turnovers and missed passes that the Panthers took advantage of as they had the upper hand the entire game.
The first quarter was slow as the Toppers only scored four points, one point to start the game from Moriah Kuehndorf and a three-point shot by senior Kelsie Knops.
The second quarter picked up some as Kayla Hanson entered the game and drained a triple and a double to help push the Toppers closer to the lead.
Going into the second half of the game the Toppers were trailing 14-20. However, they managed to outscore the Panthers by one point in the third quarter, but the score was still 23-28.
Kuehndorf led the third quarter with a tripe and a deuce and Ullom collected two deuces for the total nine points scored.
The fourth quarter was an all out battle with the Toppers coming from behind to almost knot the score.
With less than two minutes left in the game and the Panthers ahead 44-38, Ullom drew two fouls that would cut the Panthers lead to two if she drained all four free-throws.
The odds just weren’t in the Hilltoppers’ favor as freethrows bounced off the rim and the Panthers drained their freethrows and held the Toppers defensively as the clock ran down to zero.
The Toppers scored 19 points in the final quarter with Ullom collecting five, Hanson had a three-pointer, Jennifer Kopacz fought her way to the net for a deuce and triple, Knops had two points and Kuehndorf and Rachel Klatt each collected two freethrows.
The leading scorer for the Hilltoppers was Ullom with 11 points. Kuehndorf had nine points, Hanson had eight points, Kopacz and Knops each scored five points and Klatt had four points.
“We just didn’t play our game and there are definitely some things to work on,” shared coach Justin Kuehndorf.
The Panthers leading scorers were McKenzy Johnson with 16 and Laura Desmith with 11.
The Hilltopper’s played the Clear Lake Warriors at home on Tuesday evening.