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Jasper County Tribune

Baxter girls dominate paint in win over Tigerhawks

Baxter senior Brenna Thomson, right, defends Colfax-Mingo senior Payton Rhone during a non-conference basketball game in Baxter on Feb. 4. Thomson held Rhone to three points on the night.
Baxter senior Brenna Thomson, right, defends Colfax-Mingo senior Payton Rhone during a non-conference basketball game in Baxter on Feb. 4. Thomson held Rhone to three points on the night.

BAXTER — Baxter girls’ basketball team went to its bread and butter to dispatch Colfax-Mingo on Feb. 4.

Baxter’s pounded the ball inside and scored almost at will against a smaller Tigerhawk lineup, and the Bolts fast start turned into a 51-22 win.

Kaylin Van Ryswyk scored 14 points, McKenzie Eslinger chipped in 10 points and Sydney Schmidt tallied eight points, seven rebounds and three assists on her Senior Night to lead the Bolts to a home non-conference victory.

“All four of our bigs played great tonight,” Baxter coach Eric Padget said in reference to Van Ryswyk, Eslinger, Schmidt and Sadie Meyer. “The four of them compliment each other better than anyone I have ever had here before. They all feed off each other well.”

Seniors Van Ryswyk, Schmidt and Brenna Thomson were recognized after the game. The trio combined to score 30 of the team’s 51 points against the Tigerhawks.

While the Bolts were scoring at least 50 points for the fourth time this season offensively, the defense was shutting down Colfax-Mingo senior Payton Rhone, who came into the game averaging 13 points per game.

Padget used a box and one, with mostly Thomson guarding Rhone, and held the Tigerhawk guard to three points. She had 19 against the Bolts in a win last year.

“Brenna is so quick and was able to hang with her without fouling,” Padget said. “Taking her away was huge for us. She’s probably the best pure shooter that we’ve played all year. She torched us last year. We knew we had to do something to slow her down.”

The Bolts led 14-4 after one quarter. They scored the first 12 points of the game, with eight coming from Van Ryswyk.

Baxter also used an effective press that forced a bunch of Tigerhawk turnovers.

“They were more ready to play than we were tonight,” Colfax-Mingo coach Jeff Clemens said. “We won’t win any games with that many turnovers. We have to take care of the ball better.”

Brenna Rhone’s layup and Payton Rhone’s 3-pointer kept the Tigerhawks’ deficit at 10 midway through the second quarter, but Eslinger made three consecutive buckets to give the Bolts a 25-11 lead at halftime.

Six of Schmidt’s eight points came in the third quarter. Her final bucket of the period put the Bolts (7-11) in front 37-14.

“We knew what they wanted to do. We talked about it before the game,” Clemens said of the heavy dose of high-low post entry passes. “They got shots they wanted and drove us off the block.”

Avery Rague, Jordan Atwood and Kyra Lester all made buckets for Colfax-Mingo after that, but the Tigerhawks still trailed 42-20 after three quarters.

Van Ryswyk capped her night with a pair of baskets in the fourth.

Schlosser scored the game’s final points and led the Tigerhawks with seven points. Atwood scored six points for Colfax-Mingo (3-16).

Holly Jessen had four rebounds, four assists and seven steals for the Bolts, who have won three of their last four games. Sophie Meyer chipped in five points, three rebounds and four assists, Sadie Meyer had three rebounds and four assists, Van Ryswyk grabbed four boards and Caitlyn Bruntz swiped four steals.

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