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Panthers finish fourth in Borgia Invitational, battle Lafayette next


February 09, 2005 - By STEPHEN GLOVER

For the Call

The St. Francis Borgia Invitational in recent years has been a good learning experience for the Mehlville Senior High School girls' basketball team.

But last week was more of a lesson in hard knocks for the Panthers (14-4, 5-1 Suburban West). They uncharacteristically dropped two of three games, including a disappointing 53-50 loss in the third-place game to tournament-host Borgia.

"We usually win two games in that tournament," Mehlville head coach Ed Feibig told the Call. "We knew that the games would be tough and they were."

Against Borgia, the Panthers led the Knights to the free-throw line 27 times where they made 14 shots. Mehlville, on the other hand, earned just three trips to the charity stripe and made two attempts.

Adding to Feibig's frustration, the Pan-thers committed 14 turnovers to Borgia's seven.

"We just didn't pass the ball that well," Feibig said. "Plus they get 27 trips to the free-throw line compared to our three."

Kayla Gordon led the Panthers with 15 points, three steals, three rebounds and one assist. The sophomore guard averages nine points and 3.9 rebounds a game.

"I thought that she shot the ball well and played good defense," Feibig said. "She was a little inconsistent in this tournament, but then again, she's been playing different positions."

Gordon and several other Panthers have been playing out of position due to the injuries to sophomore forward Alyse Gordon and senior guard Rachel Heet.

Mehlville's Alana Wuertz also scored in double figures for the Panthers with 11 points, one steal and one rebound. The senior forward averaged 10 points a game during the tournament.

"She scored for us in every period and played pretty good defense," Feibig said. "She had a total of 30 points through three games of the tournament."

The Panthers face their biggest challenge of the season at 7:30 p.m. Friday when they travel to Lafayette for a Suburban West Conference match that could determine who wins the league. Mehlville is in second place with a 5-1 record, while Lafayette is in fourth place at 3-1.

Lafayette has a solid offense with several scoring threats: Tori Hartin averages 12.9 points with 8.4 rebounds per game; Kelsey Park averages 12.5 points, 3.05 assists and 3.81 steals per game; Amy Vickroy averages 9.4 points and six rebounds per game; and Danielle Boraz averages 9.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

"I don't know how we're going to play them," Feibig explained. "They (Lafayette) are big, strong and fast and it's going to be our hardest game of the year. We're going to have to concentrate on their point guard (Park) because she's going to be the key to the whole game."

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