After a tough loss on Friday night, the Litchfield Purple Panthers would travel to Greenville on Saturday, March 6, for another South Central Conference hardwood battle. The Comets would come out ahead in the 55-24 contest as the Panthers would fall to 1-8 overall and 1-7 in the SCC.
The Comets would control most aspects of the contest including three important stats: transition points, points in the paint and second chance points. They would outscore the Panthers in transitions points 15-0, points in the paint 28-2 and second chance points 22-4.
Controlling these stats makes it hard for the opposing team to score points and that was a truth in this contest as the young Panthers would struggle to put points on the board.
As the smoke would settle in the first quarter, the Panthers would find themselves on the tail end of a 18-5 contest. The Comets would score 12 of their 18 points in the paint.
Blaine Stewart would collect all five Litchfield points in the contest.
In the second quarter, the Panthers would continue to find it difficult to get anything going on the offensive side of the court. The Comets on the other hand would be able to add another 15 points as they would continue to increase their commanding lead.
Gavin Thimsen added a field goal and teammate Jace Stewart would find luck behind the arc. Carson Saathoff topped off the Litchfield scoring as he connected on 1-of-2 free throw attempts.
The Comets’ play on both ends of the court would allow them to build a 33-11 lead at the break. Blaine Stewart’s five first quarter points would lead the Panthers, while Fletcher Manhart’s ten points would lead Greenville and all the scorers.
Carson Saathoff would get the scoring off in the third quarter when he connected on 1-of-2 free throws. The Comets would counter with a 7-0 streak as they would increase their lead to 40-12 early in the second half.
Blaine Stewart would stop the short run as he put in his second three-pointer of the game and team leading tenth of the season. Saathoff added another point as he put in the front end of his two free throw attempts.
Clayton Bishop and Stewart would add four more points for the Panthers before the quarter would end as Litchfield would put in nine points in the quarter. The Comets though, would control a 49-20 lead.
In the final frame the Comets would outscore the Panthers 6-4 as a running clock would be in effect due to the size of the lead. Jace Stewart would add all four points for the Panthers, giving him seven in the contest and team leading 51 on the season.
The Comets’ efforts would result in a 55-24 victory as they would move their record to 6-3 overall and 5-2 in the SCC.
Blaine Stewart would lead the Panthers in the scoring column with ten points and Fletcher Manhart would lead all scorers with 16 points. The Panthers will wrap up the quick season this week with home contests with Pana and Vandalia.
March 6 at Greenville
Litchfield 5 6 9 4 24
Greenville 18 15 16 6 55
Greenville (55) - Fletcher Manhart 16, Nathan Grull 10, Gabe Lager 9, Peyton McCullough 7, Brady Lingley 4, Desmond Gardner 3, Jack Schaufelberger 2, Jayton Betts 2, Christian Bauer 2. Totals: 19-43 12-18 55.
Litchfield (24) - Blaine Stewart 10, Jace Stewart 7, Carson Saathoff 3, Clayton Bishop 2, Gavin Thimsen 2. Totals: 8-30 5-11 24.
Three-point field goals: Greenville 5-15 (Manhart 4, McCullough 1); Litchfield 3-13 (B. Stewart 2, J. Stewart 1).
Records: Litchfield (1-8, 1-7), Greenville (6-3, 5-2).
Even though Friday’s home contest against the Carlinville Cavaliers resulted in a 60-51 loss, some positives would come out of the game for Litchfield. The young Purple Panthers put together a solid effort and continue to show improvements and growth under the direction of Coach Drew Logan.
The first few minutes of a lot of contests are the deciding factor and this contest would be one of those games as the Cavaliers started the contest on a 10-0 run. Blaine Stewart would stop the scoreless streak with a three-point basket for Litchfield.
The Panthers would get two more baskets from behind the arc, as Blake McGill and Jace Stewart would each be successful in their attempts. The Cavaliers would be too strong in the quarter as they would hold a 21-9 lead after one.
The second quarter began the comeback attempt for the young Panthers. Litchfield would quickly drop the Cavalier lead to single digits and would get as close as five points to the lead.
The Panthers would use the opening minutes for an 11-4 run, getting contributions from five different players, including five points from Blaine Stewart. Stewart would be able to add five more points to his total before the quarter would end, but Litchfield could not get any closer to the lead as the Cavaliers would hold a 33-26 lead at the half.
Litchfield would show a lot of courage in the quarter as they would fight through adversity and battled back into the contest. Blaine Stewart’s 13 first half points would lead all scorers at the break.
In the third frame nothing would give as both teams continued to go head-to-head and match each other’s baskets.
Blake McGill would have the hot hand in the quarter as he would connect on seven of the Panthers 11 points in the quarter. Ethan Siglock, who connected on 12 points in the first quarter for the Cavaliers, would find his stroke again for five more points.
Both the Cavaliers and the Panthers would score 11 points in the quarter as Carlinville held onto a 44-37 lead after three quarters. The final quarter would continue to see positive effort from the Panthers, but they would not be able to break the Cavaliers lead.
Blake McGill led the Panthers in the quarter in scoring as he and the Stewart brothers would all hit three-point baskets. The Cavaliers would be able to increase their lead in the quarter as they would outscore the Panthers 16-14 and hold onto a 60-51 victory.
Even though the opening minutes would prove to be the difference in the contest, Litchfield would show a lot of guts throughout and would continue to show positive effort.
Blaine Stewart’s season-high 20 points would lead all Panthers in scoring, followed by Blake McGill’s 16 points.
March 5 at Litchfield
Carlinville 21 12 11 16 60
Litchfield 9 17 11 14 51
Carlinville (60) - Ethan Siglock 20, Ethan Trimm 18, Parker Fikes 10, Will Walton 8, Ryan Tosh 2, Ayden Tiburzi 2. Totals: 24-40 6-9 60.
Litchfield (51) - Blaine Stewart 20, Blake McGill 16, Jace Stewart 6, Carson Saathoff 4 Gavin Thimsen 3, Keenan Powell 2. Totals: 17-43 7-10 51.
Three-point field goals: Carlinville 6-9 (Siglock 6); Litchfield 10-25 (B. Stewart 4, B. McGill 4, J. Stewart 2).
Records: Litchfield (1-7, 1-6); Carlinville (3-10, 2-6).
The Litchfield Purple Panthers continued action on the hardwood Wednesday night, March 3, when they traveled to Roxana. The hosts would not be very inviting as they would knock down 12-of-30 three-pointers attempted to claim a 69-37 South Central Conference victory over the Panthers.
In the first quarter the Panthers would go toe to toe with the heavily favored Shells. While the Shells would find success outside the arc, the Panthers would battle inside the paint. Litchfield’s big guys, Jordan Harris and Carson Saathoff, would team up inside the paint and put in six of Litchfield’s first quarter points. The Panthers would get their other six points from the Stewart brothers as both Blaine and Jace Stewart would connect on long range shots. Jace’s three-point shot would be set up by brother Blaine as Litchfield closed out the quarter with the Shells in the lead, 19-12.
Early in the second quarter the Panthers would continue to put up a fight as Blaine Stewart and Jordan Harris matched the Shells’ opening baskets. Then the lid would close on the Panthers’ basket as Litchfield would struggle to connect. The Shells would take advantage of Litchfield’s struggles and turn a seven-point game into an 18-point game with a 11-0 run.
Jordan Harris would end the scoreless streak for the Panthers, connecting on his eighth point of the contest.
Both teams would exchange baskets in the final minutes of the half as Roxana would hold a 39-20 lead at the break.
Roxana would continue to excel from outside the arc in the opening minutes of the third quarter as they would connect on three more threes. The success would give them nine three-point baskets at this point in the contest.
The Shells would build their lead to 54-20 as they started the third quarter on a 15-0 run. Litchfield would put in four points in the quarter as Keenan Powell and Carson Saathoff connected on baskets, but the Shells would connect on their 10th three-pointer of the contest before time would expire in the third quarter. The late basket by the Shells would lift their lead to 59-24 after three quarters of action.
In the final quarter, the Panthers would continue to fight as they would outscore the home squad 13-10. The Roxana lead would be too large though, as the Shells walked away with a 69-37 victory.
The Panthers would get nine players in the scoring column, led by Jordan Harris’ eight points as he connected on 50 percent of the shots he took. Gavin Huffman led all scorers with 31 points, knocking down nine of the 20 three-point attempts.
The loss would drop the Panthers to 1-6 overall and 1-5 in the South-Central Conference as Roxana improved to 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the SCC.
March 3 at Roxana
Litchfield 12 8 4 13 37
Roxana 19 20 20 10 69
Litchfield (37) - Jordan Harris 8, Carson Saathoff 6, Blaine Stewart 5, Keenan Powell 4, Nate Fetter 4, A.J. Odle 3, Jace Steart 3, Blake McGill 2, Gavin Thimsen 2. Totals: 15 4-4 37.
Roxana (69) - Gavin Huffman 31, Parris White 13, Holden Jones 8, Braeden Wells 8, Austin Martin 5, Cade Slayden 2, Evan Wells 2, Christian Floyd 2. Totals: 27 3-4 69.
Three-point field goals: Litchfield 3 (Odle 1, B. Stewart 1, J. Stewart 1); Roxana 12 (Huffman 9, Jones 2, Martin 1).
Records: Litchfield (1-6, 1-5); Roxana (7-3, 5-2).