Girls basketball: Ailing Panthers still on top of NBL

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

WINDSOR — The mark of a good team is one that can overcome adversity and still win.

Santa Rosa’s girls basketball team proved it was a good team Thursday night by fighting through injuries and illnesses to defeat Windsor, 44-36.

The starting five have either seen a doctor in recent days or should have.

Morgan Bertsch played despite a torn ligament in her right thumb, Kylie Oden was taped up because of a wrist injury and Katie Daly, Devin Murray and Emily Codding were battling the flu bug.

Still, all played serious minutes as the Panthers rallied from a one-point halftime deficit to remain unbeaten in the North Bay League with a 9-0 record.

Thursday night was the fifth game in nine days for Santa Rosa. The Panthers are now off until Monday.

“We’ve gotten by on heart the last few games,” coach Steve Chisholm said.

“These girls are really something.”

Even Chisholm wasn’t spared. He caught the flu bug and missed Monday’s game against Montgomery.

In the end, it was defense that saved the day for the Panthers. They held Windsor scoreless over the first four minutes of the third quarter and that enabled them to take a 27-24 lead.

Murray started the run with a basket, Bertsch then added three points and Oden contributed a free throw.

“This was the most difficult game I can remember playing,” Bertsch said. “For me, the biggest problem was shooting free throws. Because of my thumb, I had to grip the ball like I was doing shot put. I had no feel in my palm or fingers.”

The 6-foot-4 Bertsch finished with a game-high 23 points, most of those coming from underneath the basket.

“My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball and I also got a few put-back baskets,” she said.

Bertsch was the only Santa Rosa player finishing in double figures. Oden was next with seven. As for the other starters, Murray had six, Daly wound up with four and Codding didn’t score.

Murray had 17 when the schools played earlier this season in a game the Panthers won, 58-37.

This time around, it was anyone’s game midway through the fourth quarter. Hayden Turrini’s basket got the Jaguars within one, but the Panthers then finished things with a 7-0 spurt.

Bertsch made one basket from in close and another from the corner. Daly added a free throw and Oden made a pair of free throws in the final seconds.

Windsor coach Jeff Paul said his team did a much better job defensively, but scoring droughts in the third and fourth quarters kept his team from winning.

“It’s been our Achilles’ heel this season,” he said. “We hit these dry spells.”

Kerianne Noonan was Windsor’s leading scorer with 14 and Jessica Barbosa, despite sitting out a portion of the game with foul trouble, had 10.

The Jaguars are 16-5 overall and 6-3 in league. Santa Rosa’s overall record is 20-1.

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