The expectation going into Tuesday night’s girl’s basketball game at Lakeville North was that the pace would be slow and methodical. Turns out that the Panthers and Prior Lake Lakers wanted to run…and they did.
It just turns out that the Lakers didn’t quite have the legs to keep up.
Lakeville North extends their conference winning streak to 37 games with a 59-43 win. The Panthers (3-0, 5-2) led by as many as 20 points and kept the pressure on the Lakers through the final seconds. Employing a swarming full court press throughout the two halves, forcing the Lakers into errant passes and rushed shots.
The Lakers were able to keep up with the Panthers run-and-gun style offense for a half, but when the game turned into a track meet in the second half the Lakers ran out of steam.
The Panthers were led, offensively, by Junior guard Taylor Stewart (15.9 ppg) who finished with 18 points. Division 1 recruit McKenzie Hoelmenn ran into some early foul trouble. The Senior Center took two fouls early within the first two minutes of the game and sat out the rest of the half. She finished with four fouls after taking another two fouls early in the second half.
Coach Andy Berkvam calls it concerning, but did admit that it bodes well for the rest of the team being able to pick up the slack.
Rounding out the scoring, the Panthers saw contributions from Junior Simone Kolander, Senior Lindsay Erstad, Junior Caroline Sjoberg and nice perimeter shooting from junior Cassie Berkvam.
The Lakers committed ten team fouls in the second half after staying off the penalty sheet in the first. Senior Molly Simpkins fouled out after being responsible for the Lakers first three.
Simpkins would later foul out.
Fatigue and frustration contributed to a disappointing second half for the Lakers after falling behind early.
Lakeville North will stay on top of the South Suburban Conference while Prior Lake will drop to the middle of the pack.
The Panthers next game is Thursday at Target Center against the Eden Prairie Eagles.
The Lakers will travel to the Hopkins Tournament and face the host team Royals (#1 4A) next Wednesday (12/28).