Mehlville girls fall to Hazelwood East in quarterfinal of Class 5 Tournament

By STEPHEN GLOVER

For just the second time in the 2005-2006 season, the Mehlville Senior High School girls’ basketball team experienced the sour taste of a defeat.

But like many losses, it came at the wrong time.

The Panthers (28-2, 8-0 Suburban West) suffered a disappointing 52-50 loss to Hazelwood East Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Class 5 Tournament. The loss for Mehlville broke a 20-game winning streak that extended back to Dec. 27 when the Panthers thumped Kirkwood 49-23.

Mehlville head coach Ed Feibig believes that Hazelwood East’s full-court, pressure-styled defense is what his team had the most trouble handling.

“We just had trouble with their pressure defense,” Feibig told the Call. “Normally, that doesn’t bother us, but they (Hazelwood East) were quick and we just didn’t do a good job handling the pressure.”

The Panthers trailed 11-9 after the first quarter and 26-22 by halftime. Hazelwood East extended its lead to 41-30 after the third quarter before Mehlville went on a 20-11 run in the fourth quarter that ended in the two-point loss.

Mehlville was out-rebounded 33-32 by the Spartans, perhaps the first time that’s happened all season.

“That might be the first time all year that we’ve been out-rebounded,” Feibig said. “They (Hazelwood East) had a lot of transition points with a lot of put-backs. We just did things that we normally don’t do, both offensively and defensively, that actually cost us the game.”

Mehlville’s Michelle Senf led the Panthers with 14 points and 13 rebounds. The senior forward also racked up five assists, three steals and one blocked shot in the loss to Hazelwood East.

“I’m going to miss her more than any kid that I’ve ever coached,” Feibig said. “She’s just something else.”

The Panthers also received 14 points from Kayla Gordon, more than her average of 10.5 points a game. The junior guard also recorded five rebounds, five assists, three steals and one blocked shot.

Kayla’s twin sister, Alyse, also put together a 13-point effort for the Panthers. In addition, the junior forward recorded eight rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot.

Mehlville will lose five seniors to graduation — Senf, Karen Otto, Jessica Stein-mann, Krista Stewart and Krista Vlasak.

So it’s safe to say that despite returning three of their five starters, the Panthers have some big shoes to fill next season.

“We have four very talented kids coming back next year,” Feibig said. “The challenge next year is going to be coming up with some good players that can come off the bench along with another starter. Those bench players didn’t always get to play much, but they’re a big part of this team and are basically the unsung heroes.”