CARROLLTON - For the 11th consecutive game, the Jersey Panthers walked off the court with a victory.

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Last night they defeated Carrollton 59-40 and advanced to the semifinals in the 45th annual Lady Hawk Invitational on Wednesday night at Carrollton High School.

“I feel like our whole team has stepped it up on offense and especially defense. It’s been getting a lot better lately,” Jersey junior guard Abby Manns said. “In some of our first games we weren’t all playing as one, and then I feel like now we’ve been playing more together.”

Jersey improves their record to 17-6 and will play two-seed Quincy Notre Dame (15-5) tonight at 8 p.m.

“Sometimes when we try and be aggressive, we don’t get great shots. Tonight, there was aggressive attack to the basket when the opening was there, but it might be on the third or fourth pass. I think that was a key,” Jersey head coach Strebel said. There were times where we struggled offensively because we haven’t been patient. Tonight, we were patient and then aggressive when the opening came.”

Breden, who came into the game averaging 18 points per contest scored a game-high 21 points and knocked down five three-pointers for the Panthers. Manns finished 18 points with 12 coming in the first half that helped set the tone. Bella Metzler added six points by draining two triples.

The Panthers got out a 14-3 lead in the first quarter that was capped by a Clare Breden layup at the buzzer. Jersey then went on a 13-3 run and led 27-6 before Carrollton managed to cut the deficit to 32-14 at halftime.

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“Whenever we got on a run, I think we did great, and when we’d come down the court and set something up, everything just went smoothly,” Manns said.

As a team, Jersey shot 57-percent (24-of-42) from the field.

“I kind of joked that if Clare went to the concession stand at some point; the defensive player is probably going to go with her,” Strebel said. “[Carrollton] went zone. Now all of the sudden Clare, but Bella got some open shots. We had some other good looks that might not have fallen, but yeah, Abby’s ability to get into the lane is unlike most. She can finish in there, and she’s really tough as far as doing that.”

Hannah Krumwiede’s 12 points led the Lady Hawks and junior Libby Meuth followed with 11, and freshman Callie McAdams added nine, which all came in the second half. By now anybody who comes across Carrollton knows they have to limit Krumwiede and that’s what the Panthers were able to do for the vast majority of the game.

“One of the things that makes them hard is with Marley Mullink, if it was a different matchup, I might put Abby defensively on Hannah,” Strebel said, “but we played Brooke [Tuttle] there, and Brooke did a really good job just coming out guarding but always staying in front. One thing they do well is Krumwiede will back-cut really well. I didn’t think she got many of those tonight.”

Carrollton was 15-of-53 (28%) from the field and made 6-of-25 shots in the first half.

The Lady Hawks did improve in the third quarter as they outscored the Panthers 10-8, but then Jersey got going again. They made 8-of-11 field goals in the final quarter and led by as many as 25 points (51-26).

Carrollton moves to 14-10 on the season. The sixth-seed in the tournament, they will play the fifth-seeded West Central Cougars in the fifth-place semifinals on Friday at 8 p.m.

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