By Kelsie Hoitomt
The Lady Toppers hosted the St. Croix Central Panthers last Tuesday and lost 54-49 in overtime play. They returned to the court Friday night for an away game at Spring Valley that ended in a 50-32 victory.
The Toppers’ game against a fairly young Panthers team was a bit uncharacteristic. The Toppers beat the Panthers twice last season, which was a part of why Central finished 5-11 in the conference.
After winning their last two conference games, the girls started off slower on offense this time around with six points scored on two doubles from Gabby Peterson and one from Becca Moll for a deficit of 13-6 after the first quarter.
The offense finally woke up in the second quarter and went off on a scoring tear with 16 points posted against Centrals’ eight for a 22-21 lead at the half.
The Toppers led by one with the help of four points scored from both Megan Samens and Morgan Kadinger and then Jen Kopacz hit a three and Mikaela Voeltz and Moriah Kuehndorf each landed a two-point basket.
They fell into a lull again after the half time break with seven points scored, which was just a three point difference against the Panthers’ ten.
Jenesa Klinger got her hands on the ball for the first time with two baskets scored for four out of the seven points scored. Samens hit a double herself and Kadinger had a free throw.
The Panthers were in the lead by just two points going into the fourth quarter, which made it an all out brawl on the court.
The lead changed several times before it ended as a draw with the score tied at 47 when the buzzer rang.
The Toppers managed to outscore the Panthers 18-16 in the fourth quarter with seven of their 18 points scored by free throws.
Peterson lite up the hoop with two back to back doubles. Then she was fouled and scored one of her two shots. She fouled again and scored both baskets for seven points.
Kadinger followed with six points for the team on two doubles and two free throws. Kuehndorf shot two doubles as well and then Kopacz had two free throws.
The overtime play turned into a defensive disaster. The Panthers were allowed open space, which left them room to knock down a three-pointer to solidify the win along with a double and two free throws.
The Toppers scored just two points with both coming from Peterson and her two free throws, which put the final score at 54-49.
Peterson was the points leader for the team with 13. Kadinger followed with 1, then it was Kuehndorf and Samens with six, Kopacz had five, Klinger had four and Moll and Voeltz each had two.
As a team, the Toppers scored 18 doubles, one triple and they were successful with 12 out of their 21 free throw attempts.
Regaining a win
The Toppers put a W back onto their record Friday night after they traveled to Spring Valley and beat the Cardinals 50-32.
They led by six points in the first quarter with ten points posted on their end of the court by two doubles from Samens, one from Kuehndorf, one from Kopacz and a free throw and a free throw by Klinger.
Their 10-4 lead changed to a 21-15 score after the Cardinals scored 11 points in the second quarter, which was a draw with the Toppers.
On the court, Peterson and Kopacz each shot a double and two free throws for eight of the team’s 11 points. Kuehndorf hit a double as well and a free throw.
This time around, the Toppers really kicked it into high gear out of the half time break.
They posted 16 points against the Cardinals’ nine for a 37-24 lead going into the final quarter.
Kopacz was hot on the court with three doubles and two free throws scored. Samens had some net action as well with two doubles and two free throws and then Kuehndorf had one basket for two.
Their energy carried over into the fourth quarter with 13 points scored in the final eight minutes of the game. They held the Cardinals to eight points to win the game by 18 points.
Scoring points for the win were Peterson, Samens, Kuehndorf and Kopacz. Peterson led with three doubles, Samens and Kopacz each had one and Kuehndorf landed three out of six free throws.
Kopacz led in points for the first time this season with 17 from six doubles and she finished five out of six on the line.
Samens followed with 12 from her five doubles and two free throws. Kuehndorf and Peterson were next with ten each; three doubles and four free throws from Kuehndorf and four doubles and two free throws from Peterson. And then Klinger had her one free throw.
The Toppers traveled to Cameron on Monday night, but they will return back to their home court on Thursday, December 11 for a game against Boyceville.