The third straight undefeated opponent faced by the St. Croix Central girls basketball team showed that the Panthers still have room to improve.

The Panthers went into the string of games against unbeaten opponents without a loss too. But they lost two of those three games. The second loss came last Tuesday against Prescott, 48-37.

In Tuesday's loss the Panthers' offense was streaky. Prescott led 12-4 after the first quarter, before the Panthers charged back to tie the score at 15-15 in the second quarter. Just as quickly as the Panthers made their run, Prescott responded with one of its own. The Cards took advantage of a couple Panther turnovers to score the final eight points of the first half.

Prescott built the lead up to 12 in the early moments of the third quarter. The Panthers then tried another comeback, getting the lead down to five points. The charge didn't last. Prescott roared back to lead 39-22 by the end of the third quarter.

Outside shooting is a deficiency for the Panthers. Jordan Risberg came off the bench to help in that area on Tuesday, scoring eight points. Her two three-pointers in the second quarter were a big part of the Panthers' surge.

"She's making a good push for increased playing time," Coach Luke Fritsche said, adding that several of the reserves might get more game time if they continue their improvement.

Nikki Brooks led the Panthers with 14 points, but 10 came in the fourth quarter. Laura DeSmith scored nine points. Brooks led the team with five rebounds and six assists.

The Panthers return from the holidays on Jan. 4, when they play at Amery.