Litchfield Girls Battle At Riverton

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After going 1-2 in pool play, the Litchfield girls basketball team made their way to the ninth place bracket at the Riverton Christmas Classic on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

After playing two games the day before, including the final game of the day at 7:30 p.m. at Riverton Middle School, the Panthers struggled to keep up with Deer Creek-Mackinaw and fell to the Chiefs 40-22 in their ninth place semifinal game.

Dee-Mack, as they are affectionately known, did not light the nets on fire, never scoring more than 13 points in a quarter, but counterbalanced that with a stingy defense.

The Panthers were held to single digits in all four quarters, with their most prolific quarter coming in the second with nine points.

Just before that, Carly Guinn scored four points for Litchfield, but Dee-Mack shut down the rest of the Panthers and led 8-4 after eight minutes. Elise Walch scored more than half of Litchfield’s second quarter points, hitting a three and a two, while Guinn added two more to her total and Hailey Rentz scored her first bucket of the game.

The Chiefs countered with 13 points in the second quarter getting eight from freshman Lexi Cottingham as they led 21-13 at halftime.

Cottingham continued to be a thorn in the side of the Panthers in the second half as she netted six more points in the third quarter, giving her 16 for the game. That powered Dee-Mack to their second straight 13-point quarter and boosted their overall lead to 34-20.

Any hopes of a comeback were squashed in the fourth quarter as Litchfield was held to just two free throws in the final frame, both from freshman Gina Painter. The Chiefs added four more points to their lead and finished off the 18-point win.

Carly Guinn would lead Litchfield with seven points, followed by Elise Walch with five and Lily Braasch with four, all of which came in the third quarter.

With the loss, Litchfield will play for 11th in the 16-team tournament and will have a chance to go out on a win. Their opponent will be Decatur St. Teresa, who fell to  Heyworth 36-26 in the other ninth place semifinal.

Decatur Lutheran

The match-up with Dee-Mack came after a frenzied two days of games against Decatur Lutheran, Auburn and Mt. Pulaski in pool play.

In their tournament opener, the Panthers picked up their second win of the season with a 40-38 win over the Lions of Decatur Lutheran on Monday, Dec. 27.

Litchfield was red hot from three, hitting seven from behind the arc against the Lions.

The first of those seven came from Carly Guinn in the first quarter and helped give Litchfield a 9-5 lead, in conjunction with four points from Laura Boston and two from Elise Walch.

The Panthers added two more to their lead in the second quarter, with Emma Walch and Emma Diveley hitting two more threes to make it 18-12 at the break.

In the third quarter, Walch hit her second three, but that accounted for half of Litchfield’s points in the quarter as Decatur Lutheran charged back thanks to six points from Juju Mize and five from Anna Lovekamp.

Now trailing 25-24 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Panthers received a boost from their senior leader, Carly Guinn. Guinn hit a pair of threes in the fourth for six of her seven points in the quarter, while Elise Walch knocked down a triple as well and added five points.

Litchfield would outscore the Lions 16-13 in the frame, just enough to hold on for a two-point win.

Guinn led Litchfield with 12 points, while both Elise Walch and Emma Walch contributed eight points apiece. Laura Boston added seven down low for the Panthers, with Gina Painter (3) and Lily Braasch (2) finishing off the scoring.

Auburn

The opponents got progressively tougher as the tournament went on for the Panthers, with Auburn next up on Tuesday, Dec. 28. The Panthers would hang with the Trojans early on, but a third quarter surge lifted Auburn to a 53-27 win.

It looked as if it might be a rout early on as Auburn jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but Litchfield came back to get seven points from Laura Boston and Elise Walch to cut the margin back down to one.

Auburn’s Marley Smith, who had eight of her team’s first 11 points, knocked down three free throws to make it an 11-7 game, but a three from Emma Walch made it a one-point game again for Litchfield.

The second quarter proved to be a tough one for the Lady Panthers, who were held to just one free throw in the quarter. The Trojans took advantage of Litchfield’s woes, racking up 15 points to take a 26-11 halftime lead.

The Panthers were down, but not quite out when the second half started as the two teams traded baskets to begin the third quarter. A free throw and a three from Carly Guinn and an old fashion three-point play from Hailey Rentz shot Litchfield back into the ball game though as it was 28-20 with 3:24 to play in the quarter.

But as soon as the success came, it went, with Auburn scoring 11 straight to end the quarter up 39-20. Litchfield would get four points in the fourth from Laura Boston, but the hole was too deep and Auburn finished off the 26-point win.

Laura Boston finished as the team’s leading scorer with 10 points, while Carly Guinn and Emma Walch added five each. Hailey Rentz (3), Elise Walch (3) and Gina Painter (2) also scored for the Panthers, who were now 1-1 in pool play at Riverton.

Mt. Pulaski

Litchfield’s final opponent of pool play was Mt. Pulaski, who entered the game with a 2-0 record, including a 14-point victory over Auburn on Monday. Seven and a half hours after their first game on Tuesday began, the Panthers put up a major fight against the Hilltoppers before falling 49-45 at Riverton Middle School.

Most of Mt. Pulaski’s lead came in the opening quarter as Grace Davis scored seven points to help the Toppers to a 14-5 advantage. That would be the last time Litchfield would be held to single digits though as the Panthers rallied to try to hand Mt. Pulaski their first loss at Riverton.

Emma Walch and Laura Boston combined for an inside-outside threat for Litchfield in the second quarter, with Walch hitting a three and scoring seven points, while Boston added six of her own.

Mt. Pulaski would counter with 13 points of their own as they maintained their nine point lead at halftime, 27-18.

Others would get in on the act in the second half for Litchfield as the Panthers clawed their way back into the game. Boston added on another four points, while Hailey Rentz chipped in five and Elise Walch had two. Carly Guinn was held scoreless in the first half, but hit a three and a two in the third quarter as Litchfield trimmed the Mt. Pulaski lead down to just four points, 37-33.

Litchfield tried to cut further into the lead with the same foursome that scored in the third quarter, getting five more points from Rentz to lead the way.

Mt. Pulaski would answer with Alexis Wade, who scored seven of her game-high 20 points in the fourth quarter to keep her team out in front. Wade would hit one free throw in the fourth and seven in seven attempts in the game as the Toppers went 10-for-11 from the charity stripe in the win.

Laura Boston led Litchfield with 12 points, going 5-for-8 from the field and added in five rebounds, while Emma Walch had 10 points, hitting both threes she attempted, and six boards. Hailey Rentz finished with nine points, six rebounds and a team-best five assists.

Carly Guinn and Elise Walch added seven points apiece in a balanced attack for the Panthers. Guinn also had four steals and five assists, matching Rentz’s team-best.

The loss kept the Panthers from playing the spoiler role and from a shot at a higher finish, but they can still end on a high note when they play  St. Teresa on Thursday.

December 27 at Riverton

Riverton Christmas Classic

Litchfield 9 9 6 16 40

Dec. Lutheran 5 7 13 13 38

Litchfield (40) - Carly Guinn 12, Elise Walch 8, Emma Walch 8, Laura Boston 7, Gina Painter 3, Lily Braasch 2. Totals: 15 3-10 40.

Decatur Lutheran (38) - Juju Mize 19, Anna Lovekamp 13, Ava Brown 6. Totals: 11 12-16 38.

Three-point field goals: Litchfield 7 (Guinn 3, Em. Walch 2, El. Walch 1, Diveley 1); Decatur Lutheran 4 (Mize 2, Brown 1, Lovekamp 1).

December 28 at Riverton

Riverton Christmas Classic

Litchfield 10 1 9 7 27

Auburn 11 15 13 14 53

Litchfield (27) - Laura Boston 10, Carly Guinn 5, Emma Walch 5, Hailey Rentz 3, Elise Walch 3, Gina Painter 2. Totals: 10 4-11 27.

Auburn (53) - Kendal Conway 17, Marley Smith 14, Izzy Davis 7, Addison Wheatley 6, Karlissa Clark 4, Shelby Seiler 2, Chloe Crissey 2, Olivia Marchizza 1.

Three-point field goals: Litchfield 3 (Guinn 1, El. Walch 1, Em. Walch 1); Auburn 1 (Davis 1).

December 28 at Riverton

Riverton Christmas Classic

Litchfield 5 13 15 12 45

Mt. Pulaski 14 13 10 12 49

Litchfield (45) - Laura Boston 12, Emma Walch 10, Hailey Rentz 9, Carly Guinn 7, Elise Walch 7. Totals: 19 2-4 45.

Mt. Pulaski (49) - Alexis Wade 20, Grace Davis 15, Riley May 9, Mackenzie Chandler 3, Hailee Daigh 2. Totals: 17 10-11 49.

Three-point field goals: Litchfield 5 (Em. Walch 2, Rentz 1, Guinn 1, El. Walch 1); Mt. Pulaski 5 (Davis 3, Wade 1, Chandler 1).

December 29 at Riverton

Riverton Christmas Classic

Litchfield 4 9 7 2 22

Dee-Mack 8 13 13 6 40

Litchfield (22) - Carly Guinn 7, Elise Walch 5, Lily Braasch 4, Hailey Rentz 2, Gina Painter 2, Emma Diveley 1, Emma Walch 1. Totals: 8 5-9 22.

Deer Creek-Mackinaw (40) - Lexi Cottingham 18, McKenna Carithers 7, Rylee Kahlo 6, Addison Swadinsky 4, Kenzie Knowles 3, Breanna Clark 2. Totals: 15 7-9 40.

Three-point field goals: Litchfield 1 (El. Walch 1); Deer Creek-Mackinaw 3 (Carithers 1, Knowles 1, Cottingham 1).

Record: Litchfield (2-15).

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