By Travis Mounts
A big second quarter set the tone in Garden Plain’s 43-15 win over the Independent Panthers girls basketball team in Monday’s substate first-round game.
The game started slowing, with the Owls up by just a point, 5-4. In the second quarter, the Owls outscored the Panthers 15-2, opening up a 14-point halftime lead.
The Owls were the better team from the start but struggled to make shots early. That improved starting in the second quarter.
“We didn’t shoot quite as well as we wanted, but we took good shots and played defense,” said Owls’ head coach Kody Kasselman. He said he was most pleased with the Owls’ intensity.
Independent shot just 20 percent from the field, and went 0-for-11 from the 3-point line. The Owls made five 3-pointers. Garden Plain took twice as many shots as Independent, 49-24.
Brooke Hammond’s 14 points and four steals set the tone for the Owls. Carly Hitt and Madelyn Rolfs each added 8.
Garden Plain, the No. 2 seed, will face No. 3 Sedan at 6 p.m. Thursday in Dexter. Kasselman said he does not know much about Sedan, but knows what he wants from his team.
“Play hard, play with a high level of intensity and effort,” he said. “Go have some fun.”
With a win, the Owls would play in Saturday’s championship against either top-seeded Bluestem or West Elk. Tip off is at 5:30 p.m.
Garden Plain: Brooke Hammond 14, Carly Hitt 8, Madelyn Rolfs 8, Celia Puetz 5, Rylie Stuhlsatz 3, Naomi Dooley 2, Alayna Hoheisel 2, Sydeny Puetz 1.
The Owls finished the regular season with a victory, beating the visiting Douglass Bulldogs 57-36.
The Bulldogs were ready for a fight early. The Owls were up by just a single possession after the first quarter, 7-5.
Garden Plain responded in the second quarter. The defense again held Douglass to just 5 points, while the offense got on track and outscored the Bulldogs 23-5. That gave the Owls a 30-10 halftime lead. The Owls then maintained that lead through the second half, going up by as many as 24 points at the end of the third quarter.
Madelyn Rolfs helped take over the game, scoring 22 points. Brooke Hammond added 12, and the Owls got scoring from nine players.
Garden Plain: Madelyn Rolfs 22, Brooke Hammond 12, Sydney Puetz 8, Naomi Dooley 5, Alayna Hoheisel 3, Ryleigh Stuhlsatz 3, Molly Zoglman 2, Celia Puetz 1, Leah White 1.