The Litchfield Lady Panthers closed out their season at Vandalia on Wednesday, March 10, but it was not the outcome they had hoped as the Vandals established a 10-point first quarter lead that held for a 36-26 decision.
The two teams met earlier in the season in Simmons Gymnasium at Litchfield and the visitors used a 12-3 fourth quarter run to claim a 44-39 win.
In Wednesday night’s game, Vandalia wasted little time getting their offense rolling as Madyson Hill buried a three and Anna Forbes boosted the score to 5-0.
Baskets from Cara Pence and Laura Boston inched the Lady Panthers to within a point but Vandalia owned the remainder of the quarter as they reeled off nine consecutive points and led 14-4 heading into the second. Forbes, Katie Eckhardt, Gracie Pruett and Madison Berry would all score from the floor while Bailey Stewart added a free throw.
The second quarter opened with the same flair as the first as Hill again hit from downtown to extend Vandalia’s lead to 13. Forbes turned a Panther turnover into points and the only other point in the quarter for Vandalia came at the free-throw line from Forbes.
Litchfield pared the Vandal lead down to seven at the half with four points from Cara Pence, two from Annika Rhodes and a closing three from Lauren Monke.
Neither team would scorch the nets in the third as Litchfield had only seven looks at the basket and converted on a three-ball from Painter and a two from Pence.
Vandalia put up 11 shots in the period and had four makes. Katie Eckhardt would drop in a three and Stewart, Forbes and Hill added scores to give Vandalia a 29-18 lead.
Litchfield outscored their hosts 8-7 in the final eight minutes of play thanks to the game’s leading scorer, senior Cara Pence, who had six of the Litchfield’s eight with Boston scoring the other two.
Litchfield shaved the 10-point deficit to seven but it was as close as they would get.
Pence finished the night with 14 points, 12 rebounds and two steals. For Vandalia, Hill scored four of her game high 12 points in the fourth quarter and was supported by Stewart with two and Eckhardt with a free throw.
Litchfield was whistled for nine personal fouls and it was not until the fourth quarter before Vandalia picked up their first personal foul called in the game.
The Lady Vandals were 3-for-8 from the charity stripe, 12-for-36 from the floor and 3-of-10 from behind the arc. Litchfield was 10-for-18 from the floor and 2-of-19 from downtown.
Litchfield had 23 defensive and two offensive rebounds while their hosts were 23 and 10 respectively.
Laura Boston scored four points for Litchfield and added four rebounds. Senior Becky Painter finished with three points, one rebound, four assists and two steals. Freshman Annika Rhodes had two rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Lauren Monke was credited with a three-point basket and a steal.
March 10 at Vandalia
Vandalia 14 6 9 7 36
Litchfield 4 9 5 8 26
Vandalia (36) - Madyson Hill 12, Anna Forbes 9, Katie Eckhardt 6, Bailey Stewart 5, Gracie Pruett 2, Madison Berry 2. Totals: 15-46 3-8 36.
Litchfield (26) - Cara Pence 14, Laura Boston 4, Becky Painter 3, Lauren Monke 3, Annika Rhodes 2. Totals: 12-37 0-0 26.
Three-point field goals: Vandalia 3-10 (Jill 2, Eckhardt 1); Litchfield 2-19 (Painter 1, Monke 1).
Record: Litchfield (2-9, 2-7).