• Panthers take baby steps in win over Trojans

  • Oak Grove girls basketball coach Mike Cox sees this season as a series of “baby steps” for his young team.

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  • Oak Grove girls basketball coach Mike Cox sees this season as a series of “baby steps” for his young team.
    With Thursday night’s 54-42 win at St. Mary’s, the Panthers took some baby steps toward becoming the team Cox wants them to be.
    “Any type of success they have is huge for them – for their confidence,” he said. “Even if we don’t win and play well, that’s ... a plus. It’s a slow progression. It’s slow. But they’re getting better, and that’s all we can ask for right now.”
    Junior forward Jordyn Anspach, who led Oak Grove with a personal-best 17 points and 11 rebounds, felt that the team made progress Thursday night.
    “We worked together as a team,” Anspach said. “We made our shots tonight, did well at the free throw line.”
    The Panthers (3-4) also rallied.
    The Trojans (3-5) led for much of the first quarter, including 11-5 at quarter’s end. During the second quarter, St. Mary’s led by eight twice, 13-5 and 15-7, before Oak Grove posted an 11-0 run. The Panthers went on to lead 28-23 at halftime, 41-36 after three quarters and outscored the Trojans 13-6 the final quarter to finish with their most points in a game this season.
    In addition to Anspach’s performance, the Panthers got a career high from Jillian Schnieders to help them reach 54 points. The senior guard scored 10 points, as did senior guard Sophie Jo Whitehead.
    St. Mary’s senior guard Shayla Jochum tied a career high with 17 points. Sophomore post player Nina Gavoli also tied a personal best with 13 points.
    Admittedly, the Panthers had difficulty containing Jochum early, according to Cox. Trojans coach Krista Daniels credited that to St. Mary’s patience on offense, which allowed Jochum and others to get open looks and make shots.
    “We were running our offense and we were making that extra pass,and we weren’t doing that later on,” Daniels said.
    That inconsistency has been an issue for the Trojans this season, according to Daniels.
    “When we are patient, good things happen,” she said. “When we’re not so patient and tired, that’s not a good combination.”
    And the Trojans were tired Thursday, Daniels said. That was evident to her from the shots that fell short and St. Mary’s failure to go for rebounds late in the game.
    Jochum also said that the Trojans “got tired,” but felt that they “pushed through it pretty well.”
    “We kept our heads up and just tried to focus and put our tiredness toward something better – (toward) positive energy out there,” she said.
    And the Trojans took some baby steps of their own, Jochum suggested.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We played really well as a team tonight,” she said. “We meshed together well. We’re coming closer as a team.”

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