MANKATO — It’s not often New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva girl’s basketball coach John Schultz raises his voice to his defending Class AA state champion Panthers.
“I’ll yell when they don’t work hard and when they work hard I’ll shut up,” Schultz said. “I told them we’d be conditioning a lot tomorrow during that early timeout, but then they got it going.”
The top-ranked and undefeated Panthers (26-0) responded to Schultz’s urging by ripping off a half-ending 37-3 run on their way steamrolling Tri-City United 87-34 in a Section 2AA, South Sub-Section semifinal contest at the East gym.
“My dad gave us a little yelling and that’s not like him,” senior guard Jade Shultz said. “He’s soft-hearted and kind of a push over, he hardly ever yells.
“We got more aggressive after that and started making more of our shots. It just wasn’t clicking for us.
“We weren’t used to the bigger floor and it seemed like we kept hitting the ball out of bounds instead of grabbing it. Things finally started falling into place. It’s really scary knowing any game be your last but it is what it is so we just have to keep working hard to go as far as we can go.”
Senior scoring machine Carlie Wagner nailed a pair of 3-pointers and a 10-foot transition hoop as the Panthers took an early 10-5 lead. After junior forward Dani Angileno’s three-point play trimmed the margin to 10-8, Schultz’s baseline 3-pointer triggered a 9-0 surge that produced a 19-8 lead on another Schultz three-point play off a driving left-elbow jumper.
Tri-City (10-17) sliced the defict to 26-18 behind a baseline jumper and 3-pointer from freshman guard Joslyn Vargo, forcing coach Schultz into a timeout.