Big first half helps Panthers stay on top

by Jason Olson
Sports Editor

Second ranked Spring Lake Park (Class AAA) pulled away early in its North Suburban Conference rivalry game at Fridley in an 84-66 win Jan. 20.

Sean Scott, back, goes up for a lay-up during the Panthers win at Fridley Jan. 20. Photo by Bill Jones

The win boosts the Panthers to 14-1 overall, and 6-0 in the conference standings, half-a-game ahead of No. 1 ranked (Class AAA) Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the standings.

The two teams will meet in Spring Lake Park Feb. 3.

Friday’s conference win a few miles south of the Spring Lake Park campus on Highway 65 showcased how the Panthers have won many of its games, strong shooting, rebounding and effort.

“It was kind of back and fourth early and then we went on a little spurt at the end of the half,” Panthers coach Grant Guzy said as they led 45-30 at the half.

Four of the five Spring Lake Park starters scored in double figures, led by Sean Scott’s game-high 19 points and Bryce Williams 18 points. Captain Jordan Thimmesch-Slepica had a season-high 15 points and eight rebounds (six came in the first half). Robert Ben completed the scoring barrage with 13 points. Starter Justin Axelson had six points and three rebounds.

Guzy was impressed with the play of Thimmesch-Slepica: “He grabbed a number of rebounds on offense in the first half and turned them into three-point plays with the put-backs.”

The Panthers turned up the defensive intensity to force a few turnovers which led to a 30-point lead with nine minutes left. [smooth=id:487]