By Josh Linehan
Capital Journal Staff
PIERRE — Through 11 games, the Pierre Lady Govs still sport an umblemished record.
But here’s the scary part for teams who still have to play Pierre this season: They might be only now hitting their stride.
The Lady Govs used stifling defense and a balanced offense to take all the drama out of a showdown of unbeaten teams Tuesday night, cruising to a 51-29 win over the Brandon Valley Lynx.
"That was a very nice night," Pierre coach Lisa Kannegieter said. "That’s probably the best full game we’ve played all year. We put four quarters together."
The Lynx entered the game unbeaten and ranked third in the state. But the Lady Govs held Brandon Valley scoreless for nearly five minutes to open the game, staking themselves to a lead they would never relinquish.
The game also featured a milestone for Pierre guard Steph Paluch, who scored her 1,000th career point on a three-point play in the third quarter.
Paluch, who led all scorers with 19 points, stole the ball near midcourt and blew past two Lynx defenders for a layup and 1,000 points even. After the Riggs Gym crowd gave her a standing ovation, she sank the free throw to give Pierre a 43-25 lead.
Her 1,001 points put Paluch second in Lady Govs history, 29 points behind the 1030 Karen Hasek scored from 1981-83.
"Steph is a very unselfish player, and as much as she passes the ball, it’s amazing that she hit 1000 at this point in the year," Kannegieter said.
Paluch finished 7-12 from the floor and added six rebounds and two assists.
"It hasn’t really sunk in yet, I’m just kind of excited that we won this game," Paluch said.
While Paluch was reaching a milestone at one end of the floor, the Lady Govs were owning the other end. Pierre held Brandon Valley under 10 points in every quarter. Katie Lingle led the way with seven blocked shots — and at least as many altered.
The Lady Govs also hounded the Lynx into 22 turnovers en route to the win.
"I would have to say that was our best defensive game," Paluch said. "We put a lot of pressure on them and forced a lot of bad shots."
The lone down spot for the Lady Govs was inbounding the ball. Pierre was whistled twice for five seconds on inbounds plays and turned the ball over another two times.
Lingle scored 10 points for Pierre, follwed by Alexa Berg with eight. Tristan Rogers, Linsey Peterson and Amanda Stout had four each and Amber Olson had two as the Lady Govs got all 10 players into the game and Pierre looked exactly like a team that has won its first 11 games.
"Our kids played their hearts out tonight," Kannegieter said. "The quote I heard in the locker room was, ‘We just played,’ and that’s what we’ve been trying to get them to do, just play."
Pierre gets back in action Friday night when the Lady Govs travel to Spearfish to take on the Spartans.