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Mehlville drops 62-42 decision to Red Knights in last week's state sectional championships

In case you didn't hear last Wednesday evening, the girls' basketball team at Mehlville Senior High School had something to say.

The Mehlville Panthers (17-10, 3-4 Suburban West Conference) toed the line with the Red Knights of Incarnate Word Academy March 3 in the sectional championship game at Northwest-House Springs High School.

The Red Knights are arguably one of the best teams in the state, but that apparently didn't matter much to their opponent.

"We played great," Mehlville head coach Ed Feibig told the Call. "The kids did a wonderful job."

Mehlville found itself hanging tough with the Red Knights as the Panthers trailed 18-16 after the first quarter.But it was Mehlville's play in the second half of action that began raising a few eyebrows in the crowd.

The second quarter marked a point in the game when the Panthers began taking their swings at the potential state champs as Mehlville jumped out to a 29-23 lead by halftime.

"The second quarter was where we pretty much shut them down," Feibig said. "We were playing one of the best teams in the state and for us to be leading at halftime, that says something about our team."

Yet the Panthers began to run out of gas in the third quarter as their lead dwindled away to a 38-37 Red Knight advantage.

Feibig believed that his players still had enough gas in the tanks to hang on and finish off their opponent.

"For the most part of the game, I thought that we had it," Feibig explained.

"We just got tired and didn't have anymore in our legs. Incarnate Word was just a little bit better and a little bit stronger than we were,'' he added.

A 24-5 Incarnate Word run in the fourth quarter proved to be too much for the Panthers to handle, as they dropped a 62-42 decision to the Red Knights.

Despite the disturbing score, the fact that Incarnate Word had 24 attempts from the free-throw line was one of the more deciding factors of the game. Mehlville, on the other hand, went to the charity strip just 11 times. The Panthers ended up recording 19 fouls, which was one of their highest totals for the season.

"We don't foul that much," a frustrated Feibig explained. "We needed them (the referees) to call that game a little bit closer."

Mehlville freshman forward Alyse Gordon led the Panthers with 10 points, two steals and one blocked shot despite fouling out of the game. For the season, Gordon has averaged 7.6 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.

"All of her (Gordon) points were in the first period," Feibig said. "Everything was working fine for us for a while."

Although the Panthers have four seniors — Jerica Gordon, Valerie Pappademos, Carissa Pratt and Katie Walsh — on this year's team, they also have three starters returning for next season.

The Panthers will have three sophomores, two juniors and just two seniors on next year's team.

"We'll have seven kids coming back and all have played a lot this season," Feibig explained. "All of these kids have tons of experience and I think we're going to be better."

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