Basketball: Panthers fall to Shawano in Sundrop Shootout

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Panthers make just 5 buckets in 1st half

Dennis Wilson, Times Herald Correspondent

Oconto Falls High School junior Katelyn Albrecht attempts a jumper during a 64-27 loss to Shawano on Wednesday at the Sundrop Shootout at the Kress Center in Green Bay. (Photo by Jody Ward)

With only five field goals in the first half, the Oconto Falls girls basketball team found themselves in a deep hole early.

Falling behind 22-0 to start the game, the Panthers never recovered and dropped a 64-27 decision to Shawano during the Sundrop Shootout at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Kress Center on Dec. 27.

The Panthers struggled all night, only hitting 11 field goals during the game and getting to the free-throw line just eight times.

By contrast, Shawano made 22 trips to the line in the first half. The Hawks made the most of their trips to the charity stripe, hitting 18 of 22 attempts in the first half and 22 of 30 for the game. Oconto Falls made just two of their eight attempts.

On top of the free-throw difference, the Hawks out-rebounded the Panthers nearly 2-to-1.

“We could not keep them off the glass,” Oconto Falls head coach Michael Kaczmarek said. “We didn’t have an answer for their second-chance opportunities. They’re bigger and stronger than we are inside, and we didn’t have an answer for how strong and physical they were.”

Normally a pressing team, there were a couple of factors that made Kaczmarek change his normal defensive presence.

“We played with nine players, but one just came off injury, so we didn’t feel we could play with them and (Shawano’s) point guard is pretty confident with the basketball,” Kaczmarek said, “so we didn’t think we could press them.”

It didn’t help that the Panthers were facing a team that is looking to change they way they start games.

“In the past we’ve been a second-half team, so we really wanted to focus this year in getting out to better starts in games,” Shawano head coach Ryan Koenig said. “I really challenged them in here. I told them it’s our shootout, it’s the first girls game ever and we are the hosts, so let’s go out and be ready to go right away, and the girls really responded to that.”

In the nine years of the Sundrop Shootout, this was the first time ever that girls teams were invited to the now three-day event.

“It was a great opportunity for the girls. We try to do something like this every three of four years,” Kaczmarek said. “So it was a great opportunity to play at the Kress Center. It was a great chance for these kids to play on a college court and in this atmosphere.”