HERSHEY — It was the clash of early-season unbeatens at Hershey High School on Saturday. The Lady Panthers came into the match-up against St. Pat’s with a No. 2 preseason ranking in the Omaha World-Herald and the Lady Irish held a No. 3 ranking. The Lady Irish used a game-high 17 points from Shelby Allberry and 14 points from Brittany Lawrence to hold off Hershey 54-47.
The St. Pat’s boys, coming into Saturday’s game ranked No. 5, had to comeback after trailing early to win 65-49.
After trailing by 14 at half, the Lady Panthers put together a 12-0 run to close to within 41-36 with 1 minute, 15 seconds to go in the third quarter. During the run Hershey got a couple 3s, first from Tayler Baker and then a deep one from behind the arc from Daynlee Miller. Maddie Seamann scored six in the run. The first four points coming off feeds from Miller.
“Daynlee is going to get her attempts,” Hershey coach Jeremy Thomas said, “but Maddie did a great job of finding the hole. We made the adjustment at halftime and [Maddie] did a great job.
“We actually had to get out of the press because we couldn’t get back in transition. We wanted to get back and work on our half-court D and get some stops and we did. That led to getting some momentum which we could get back into our press at that time. We made a great run.”
“The press bothered us,” said St. Pat’s assistant Brad Braithwait. “They’re such a good basketball team — they do such a good job defensively.
“Their pressure is relentless. We knew they were going to come back and make a run on us. I think we did a pretty good job, our girls kept their composure and were able to weather their run a little bit to give us some breathing room heading into the fourth quarter.”
Mandy O’Malley hit a basket to end the third and St. Pat’s went up by 10 to begin the fourth quarter on an 8-footer by Sam Byrn.
With 5:10 left, Miller hit another deep 3, followed up by two Brooke Frederick free throws, and the Lady Panthers cut the lead to five with 4:50 remaining.
But Shelby Allberry scored five of the final seven points of the game in leading the Lady Irish over Hershey.
“We got the ball in her hands to get her to the free throw line,” said Braithwait. “We really needed a bucket.”
Leading by four at 51-47 with 1:30 to go, Allberry knocked down a shot from the right baseline just inside the arc, putting a dagger into the Lady Panthers.
“It’s only good if it goes in,” Braithwait said. “But she had the guts to step up and shoot it and was confident when she did shoot it. We were fortunate it went in for her.”
Hershey had some looks in the final minutes, but the ball handling that had been there for them early, was absent in the final moments.
“We had some looks,” Thomas said. “We ran a couple plays to get the ball inside to Maddie. We kicked it off the foot a couple times and threw it away there at the end. We also had a travel call — so that stuffs tough.
“It just wasn’t our night to get a good finish but I was proud of our effort. That’s going to help us down the road.”
Hershey led for all but the final :26 of the opening quarter. Brook Boucher and Mandy O’Malley each hit 3s in the final two minutes to hold a 14-12 lead heading into the second frame.
“We came out really hitting our shots and the defensive pressure was right there,” Thomas said. “We got some stops and some steals. We kind of let them loose there to get some wide-open looks. You just can’t leave this team wide open — they’re going to hit’em and knock’em down.”
Braithwait commented on the Lady Irish start.
“We came out a little too excited I think,” said Braithwait. Our girls and coaches have a ton of respect for the Hershey program. It was a great high school basketball game.
“We were fortunate to knock down a couple perimeter shots at the end of the first quarter to get our legs underneath of us a little bit.”
Hershey (3-1)....................12 8 16 11 — 47
St. Pat’s (3-0).......................14 20 9 11 — 54
Hershey stats: (2 pt fg, 3 pt fg, ft, pts) Daynlee Miller 2, 2, 1/5, 11; Brooke Frederick 1, 0, 4/6, 6; Maegan Hiatt 4, 0, 3/4, 11; Tayler Baker 0, 1, 0/0, 3; Maddie Seamann 4, 0, 5/5, 13; Jenna Young 1, 0, 1/2, 3.
St. Pat’s stats: (2 pt fg, 3 pt fg, ft, pts) Anna O’Malley 1, 0, 1/2, 3; Mandy O’Malley 3, 1, 0/1, 9; Sam Byrn 2, 0, 2/3, 6; Brook Boucher 1, 1, 0/0, 5; Shelby Allberry 3, 1, 8/13, 17; Brittany Lawrence 6, 0, 2/3, 14.
Irish down Panthers
Sean Keenan hit for 11 of his game-high 30 points in the opening quarter in leading the undefeated St. Pat’s Irish to a win over the Hershey Panthers. Keenan hit on 12 2-point attempts, one from behind the arc and was 3-of-8 from the line.
Hershey jumped out to leads of 7-3 and 11-6 before the Irish ended the first quarter scoring eight of the final 11 points to take a 14-13 lead into the second quarter.
Josh Margritz hit for five first-quarter points to help the Panthers cause. Hershey coach Dustin Jorgenson was happy with his team’s performance.
“Our kids played hard,” Jorgenson said. “I’m proud as heck of them. St. Pat’s is a great team. They are very well coached.
“We stuck with them and had some opportunities. We just have to continue to grow. We’re pretty inexperienced but if we continue to get better each day. We’ll be fine.”
St. Pat’s coach William O’Malley was impressed with the Panthers play.
“I thought Hershey played really well. It was really a challenge.
“They shot the ball well and they kept the ball alive on the offensive glass, all of which really created a lot of problems for us.”
St. Pat’s held leads of 25-20 at the end of the first half and 44-39 heading into the fourth. The Irish stretched the lead to six or seven at times, but couldn’t put the Panthers away.
“We just couldn’t get enough defensive stops to be able to get any separation,” O’Malley said. “It seemed like whenever we started to get some offensive rhythm going, they would come back and answer with a big shot. They were answering everyone of those calls.”
St. Pat’s opened the final quarter with an eight-point run and were able to hold on to the lead, despite some difficulties at the free throw line. The Irish finished the game, 18-of-32 from the line.
“We talked after the game,” said O’Malley. “We definitely need to work on our free throwing and be more mentally tough. It’s going to be huge. If you’re going to maintain leads you’re going to have to hit free throws.”
Despite the loss, Jorgenson was encouraged with the Panthers effort.
“Our kids were relentless,” Jorgenson said. “We just had a couple lulls. That’s been the same thing the last couple games.
“You can’t go through those lulls and we won’t. We’re going to get better. We have great kids, good attitudes with a great work ethic.”
Hershey (1-4).......................................13 7 19 10 — 49
St. Pat’s (3-0)............................14 11 19 21 — 65
Hershey stats: (2 pt fg, 3 pt fg, ft, pts) Tyson Osborne 2, 2, 0/0, 10; Colton Marshall 0, 5, 0/1, 15; Josh Connell 3, 0, 1/2, 7; Landan Maassen 1, 0, 0/0, 2; Dylan Johnson 2, 0, 5/5, 9; Josh Margritz 1, 1, 1/2, 6; Kalon Czarnick 0, 0, 0/1, 0.
St. Pat’s stats: (2 pt fg, 3 pt fg, ft, pts) Sean Keenan 12, 1, 3/8, 30; Joseph O’Malley 0, 0, 3/4, 3; Andrew O’Neill 0, 0, 1/2, 1; Brandon Niesen 1, 0, 1/2, 3; Matthew Buhrman 0, 0, 2/2, 2; Joseph Clinch 4, 0, 6/10, 14; Alex Harms 3, 0, 2/4, 4; Mark Mayfield 1, 0, 2/4, 4; Seth Lynes 1, 0, 0/0, 2.