By TED RADICK
PANDORA — Leipsic girls basketball coach Gary Kreinbrink was concerned about Pandora-Gilboa’s inside-outside duo of forward Megan Maag and guard Hunter Hermiller.
Stopping those two was Leipsic’s focus Thursday, and the Vikings followed the game plan perfectly in recording a 58-48 Blanchard Valley Conference victory.
Hermiller scored the Rockets’ first basket of the game and never scored again. Maag finished with 12 points but never attempted a shot in the first half as Leipsic raced to an insurmountable lead.
Maag picked up her second foul early in the second quarter and went to the bench for the rest of the first half.
“A lot of credit for that goes to Amber Gerdeman,” Kreinbrink said. “Amber guarded her and she was guarding Amber also, so our focus was to try to get her out of the game with foul trouble. We know she’s a great scorer, especially from the free-throw line.”
With Pandora-Gilboa’s offensive threats locked down, the Vikings (7-3, 3-1 BVC) jumped on the Rockets on the offensive end. Shalynn Morman hit a pair of 3-pointers as the Vikings went up 14-2.
The closest the Rockets (5-4, 2-2) ever came was an eight-point margin early in the second quarter. It was a far cry from the Nov. 23 game between the two teams, which Pandora-Gilboa won 42-22 in a Putnam County League contest.
“It’s frustrating. This is a win we should have had,” Pandora-Gilboa coach Jessica Liedtke said. “I don’t think that we came ready to play. My girls have a lot of heart, but tonight it seemed like they didn’t show up to give it their all.
“That doesn’t go for everyone on the team but everyone has their ons and offs, and tonight our team was a little off.”
That little bit of “off” was all Leipsic needed. P-G’s Ashley Alt hit a short jumper to cut Leipsic’s lead to 17-9 in the second quarter, but Morman, who matched Haley Gerten with a team-high 16 points, hit another 3-pointer to stretch the Vikings’ advantage.
“We lost by 20 the first game of the year. We knew we were a much better team than that, and we wanted to come here and prove that tonight,” Kreinbrink said. “We had a business-like approach to this one. We knew we had to get this one if we want to get to where we want to be.”
Leipsic built a 16-point lead in the third quarter and matched that in the fourth. The Vikings grabbed 14 offensive rebounds and had a 32-21 edge on the boards for the game. Meanwhile, Leipsic continued to draw fouls and get to the free-throw line, where the Vikings were 16 of 23.
“We talked about having patience on offense and getting into the bonus,” Kreinbrink said. “That’s important for us.”
“We didn’t do a good job boxing out,” Leidtke said. “We just couldn’t seem to find their players to get a body on them to box out.”
Maag finally came alive with eight points in the fourth quarter and P-G’s Ashley Williams scored five of her 16 points in the fourth quarter, but it was too late.
“Even though we got up 15 or so, their kids won’t quit,” Kreinbrink said. “They hit a ‘3’ and a free throw or two and got it back to 10 or 11, but we were able to keep that double-digit lead throughout. We weren’t happy about how we finished the last couple of minutes, but obviously we’ll take a win on the road whenever we can get it.
“Besides that, it was just a huge league game for us.”
Leipsic remains a game behind McComb in the BVC standings.
“It keeps us with one loss in the league, and we know we have Liberty-Benton next Thursday,” Kreinbrink said.
Arlington, Arcadia and L-B are also 3-1 in league play, behind the 4-0 Panthers. Leipsic lost by one point to McComb and owns victories over Arlington and Arcadia.
“We’ve beaten some good teams in the league so far with Arlington, Arcadia and Pandora, and now we have another one coming up,” Kreinbrink said.
Leipsic got a balanced scoring effort Thursday. Gerdemann had nine points and eight rebounds, while Gerten and Kelly Nadler each had six rebounds.
Williams, who scored 17 against Leipsic in the PCL game between the two teams, had six rebounds and four steals. Vanessa McCullough had five assists.
Leipsic (7-3, 3-1)
Morman 5-3—16, A. Gerdeman 3-3—9, Nadler 1-2—4, H. Gerten 6-3—13, Steffan 2-3—7, K. Gerten 2-1—5, N. Kreinbrink 0-1—1, H. Kreinbrink 0-0—0, Scheckelhoff 0-0—0, Schroeder 0-0—0, Kaufman 0-0—0. TOTALS: 19-44 16-23—58.
Pandora-Gilboa (5-4, 2-2)
Williams 7-0—16, McCullough 3-1—7, Hermiller 1-0—2, M. Maag 3-6—12, Conine 2-0—4, O. Maag 0-0—0, Alt 2-1—5, M. Gerdeman 1-0—2, Swary 0-0—0, Hovest 0-0—0. TOTALS: 19-44 8-9—48.
Leipsic 14 14 15 15 — 58
Pandora-Gilboa 4 13 11 20 — 48
3-Point GOALS: Leipsic 4-5 (Morman 3, H. Gerten); Pandora-Gilboa 2-13 (Williams 2).
rebounds: Leipsic 32 (A. Gerdeman 8); Pandora-Gilboa 21 (Williams 6).
turnovers: Leipsic 20, Pandora-Gilboa 15.
junior varsity: Pandora-Gilboa, 32-23.