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Phantoms edge Bulldogs in first-place clash

By Murray Gleffe


DE PERE—The West De Pere girls’ basketball team survived a last-second three-point miss by the New London Bulldogs Jan. 15 to hold on for a 47-44 win in a matchup of first and second-place teams in the Bay Conference.

Alexa Thomson led the Phantoms (10-4 overall, 8-0 Bay) with 18 points.

Casey Jepson and Alivia McNabb each chipped in with eight.

“We knew this could be a game that came down to a last possession or two and it did,” said Chris Abaray, West De Pere head coach. “I’m just glad we came out on the winning end of it.”

Meghan Besaw paced the Bulldogs (8-5 overall, 6-2 Bay) with 14 points and Kate Christian and BreAnna Hacker each had 11.

Just like the previous meeting that was decided by a single point, defense reigned supreme in this game as well.

West De Pere took an early 12-10 lead by sinking six early free throws with hard takes to the basket by Bailey Baeten and Thompson.

The Bulldogs forged ahead after Christian banked in a two-point basket with a foot on the three-point line to give New London a 17-14 lead with 3:54 left until the half.

Thomson then scored six of the final seven points of the half for the Phantoms as they took a 21-19 lead into intermission.

“We earned everything we got in that first 18 minutes,” Abaray said about his team. “They were playing a trapping half-court defense and forced us to make the extra pass to score. Alexa made two great plays there at the end of the first half to put us in front.”

Three lead changes ensued to start half number two with the Bulldogs going up 25-23 behind the dribble-drive penetration of Hacker.

After the back-and-forth affair of the first 22 minutes, two big runs took place.

West De Pere went on an 11-1 run to go ahead 34-26 with 11:20 left.

The Bulldogs got back into the game with a quick 7-0 surge themselves to cut the Phantoms margin to one.

With the score deadlocked at 41 apiece, Sydney Appleton, who was in early foul trouble, hit a left-handed layup in the lane. That was followed by a hustle play by Rebekah Buboltz who saved a ball from going out of bounds and flicked it to Thomson for two to put the Phantoms up 45-41.

After a quick response by the Bulldogs, McNabb nailed two clutch free throws to give West De Pere a 47-44 lead with 8.1 seconds left.

The Bulldogs brought the ball down the floor and after the Phantoms knocked away an entry pass (that came out to 25 feet away), Hacker fired up a desperation heave that went wayward and the Phantoms remained unbeaten in conference play.

Box Score:

New London: 19, 25—44

West De Pere: 21, 26—47

Bulldogs: Besaw 14, Christian 11, Hacker 11, Pankow 2, Pfefferle 2, Kringel 2, Henderson 2

Phantoms: Thomson 18, Jepson 8, McNabb 8, Baeten 7, Appleton 5, Buboltz 1

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Phantoms post No. 42 Alexa Thomson puts up a shot in traffic (being double teamed by No. 3 Kate Christian and No. 24 Samantha Pfefferle)
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