From the Argus....
|It was a Western Big 6 Conference girls' basketball matchup featuring contrasting styles Thursday night.|
With Galesburg bringing its prodigious 3-point shooting skills to the Panther Den, the United Township Panthers found that taking the inside track was ultimately the key to victory as they were able to outgun the Silver Streaks to earn a crucial 75-69 conference win.
"I tell you what, you feel like you've run a marathon every time you play Galesburg," said UT coach Justin Shiltz, whose 7-5 club moves to 3-1 in the Big 6 to stay a game behind first-place Rock Island. "They do a good job with that style. You've got to weather it the entire game, which is tough to do."
With the Panthers attempting no 3-pointers compared to the 7-of-44 showing Galesburg (7-4, 2-2 WB6) put up behind the arc, senior center Katie Daggett was the anchor of the hosts' interior game. The 5-foot-11 Daggett hit on seven of her 10 shots for 19 points and completed her double-double with a game-best 15 rebounds.
"Galesburg is smaller than us, and everyone's spread out, so the means the middle is always open," she said. "Coach said that I'd be able to score some big points and get a lot of rebounds tonight."
While Daggett was making her presence felt in the paint, sophomore guard Tayler Dobrinske was also stepping up her game in a big way.
After missing her first three shots, Dobrinske only missed once in her next 10 attempts as she led all scorers with 22 points. The last of those points came with 16.5 seconds left in the game to help the Panthers seal the win after the Streaks had closed a nine-point deficit down to 73-69 with 1:05 left on an Allison Mangieri 3-ball.
"It was definitely difficult at times, the way they push the ball up the floor, but we just had to push through it and win," said Dobrinske, who also had five boards. "We knew they could shoot 3s, so we had to get out on them and keep the pressure on them."
With the Western Big 6's top scorer, Galesburg senior guard Jessica Lieber, having trouble getting on track in the first half, UT took advantage by scoring the game's first eight points. However, Mangieri (16 points, five rebounds) took up the slack, and the Streaks were able to knot the score at 12-12 by the end of the first quarter.
In the second period, Dobrinske took over by scoring 10 of her points, and Jen VanWatermeulen (13 points) had a key three-point play midway through the quarter that gave the hosts a renewed spark as they built a 34-27 halftime lead. That lead grew to nine points before a 17-4 Galesburg run keyed by a trio of Sharron Diggins buckets gave the Streaks a 45-41 lead.
However, the Panthers responded, regaining the lead at 49-48 on a Jada Harris bucket late in the period. A Daggett putback beat the buzzer to put UT up 53-48 entering the final eight minutes and it was able to fend off a strong final period by Lieber, who scored nine of her 22 points in that span before fouling out.
"In our league, you've got to defend the home court to have a chance," said Shiltz. "Obviously you don't win it in one night, but you can stay in it in one night."