Struggling to find points in their first two contests the Litchfield Purple Panthers would look to change the tide when they welcomed the Gillespie Miners to Simmons Gym on Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Litchfield would get their season-high point total, but so would Gillespie as the 2-6 Miners knocked off the 0-2 Panthers 72-40.
In the opening quarter Coach Drew Logan’s Panthers would come out of the gates on a strong note. The Panthers would answer the Miner call in the opening minutes as both teams exchanged points. Jordan Harris and Chase Hires would put points on the board for Litchfield as the Panthers would hold a 4-2 lead.
After a minor run by Gillespie, Chase Hires would grab his second basket of the quarter as Gillespie would hold a 8-6 lead. The Miners would extend that lead to seven points before the Panthers would be able to put another point on the board.
Jeremie Yakana and Gavin Thimsen would pull Litchfield back into the contest as both players recorded two points, narrowing the Miner lead to 13-10. Gillespie would not allow Litchfield to come any closer as they added the final four points of the quarter to hold a 17-10 lead after one quarter.
The Miners would start the second quarter off with a bang as they opened the quarter with an 11-2 run. The big run would widen the gap as Gillespie led 28-12 early in the second quarter.
Jace Stewart would put a stop to the Gillespie run as he drained a three-point basket. Stewart would put his fourth point on the board moments later as he dropped 1-of-2 free throws attempted.
After narrowing the Miner lead to 30-16, the Panthers would watch that deficit grow once again. Gillespie used the last minutes of the first half to increase their lead by outscoring Litchfield 4-0. Chase Hires would put in the last basket of the half as Litchfield would trail Gillespie 34-18.
Chase Hires led Litchfield in the scoring column with six points, four coming in the opening quarter.
Again in the second half, Gillespie would use the opening minutes of the quarter to increase their lead. Outscoring their opponents 11-3, Gillespie would now hold a 45-21 lead in the third quarter.
Trailing 46-23, Litchfield would continue to fight and used the final minutes of the quarter to outscore Gillespie 10-4. The late push by the Panthers would narrow the Gillespie lead to 50-33 after three quarters of action.
In the final quarter the young Panthers would continue to battle in the final frame, but the Miners would not allow the home squad to chip away at their lead.
Coach Logan, a Blackburn College athletic hall of famer, would keep pushing his Panthers to improve throughout the contest. Continuing to find shots on the offensive side, the Panthers would find a season-high 52 shot attempts. Litchfield would also become more aggressive on the offensive side of the court as they would touch the charity stripe 16 times, another season high.
Even though the Panthers showed signs of improvements throughout the contest, Gillespie would walk away with a 72-40 victory.
Gavin Thimsen, finishing 6-of-6 from the free throw line, would lead Litchfield with eight points, along with Chase Hires who also put in eight points.
The loss would drop the Panthers to 0-3 overall and 0-3 in the South Central Conference. Gillespie would improve to 3-6 overall and 2-1 in the SCC.
February 24 at Litchfield
Gillespie 17 17 16 22 72
Litchfield 10 8 15 7 40
Gillespie (72) - Brock Fredericks 24, Kamryn Link 14, Tanner Whitfield 11, Jack Herron 8, Zane Cunningham 8, Anthony Ribes 5, Joe Baglin 2. Totals: 29-53 10-20 72.
Litchfield (40) - Gavin Thimsen 8, Chase Hires 8, Jace Stewart 6, Jordan Harris 6, Blaine Stewart 4, Jeremie Yakana 3, Carson Saathoff 3, Clayton Bishop 2. Totals: 13-52 13-16 40.
Three-point field goals: Gillespie 2-6 (Fredericks 1, Whifield 1); Litchfield 1-14 (J. Stewart 1).
Records: Litchfield (0-3, 0-3); Gillespie (3-6, 2-1).
After a strong showing on Friday night the Litchfield boys basketball team looked to put together another solid effort on Saturday, Feb. 27. The Purple Panthers would be handed another tough test against the 4-2 North Mac Panthers. North Mac would walk away with a 63-25 victory in the battle of the Panthers.
In the opening quarter the Purple Panthers’ defense would come out strong. Litchfield would prevent North Mac’s offense from getting fully involved as the Purple Panthers would prevent them from getting scoring opportunities inside the three-point arc. North Mac would attempt 14 shots in the quarter, 11 coming from behind the arc.
The Purple Panthers’ defense would also pick up three steals and three deflections in the quarter. On the offensive side of the court, Litchfield would be able to match North Mac’s point total. Four Purple Panthers would put points on the board in the quarter, including four points from Litchfield’s leading scorer on the season Jordan Harris.
The effort by Litchfield in the quarter would create a deadlock on the scoreboard as both Panther squads put ten points on the board.
After a strong opening quarter, the young Purple Panthers would be overcome by the experience of North Mac, who would break the tie and build a commanding lead throughout the quarter.
North Mac forced the inexperienced Litchfield squad to commit ten turnovers in the quarter. The pressure defense by North Mac would result in 14 transition points as they would outscore Litchfield 29-3 in the quarter.
Litchfield would get points from Jace Stewart and Keenan Powell as the three points by Litchfield would end an 11-0 North Mac run that opened the quarter.
After the Purple Panthers put an end to the North Mac run, North Mac would once again take off on another run, an 18-0 run that would last the remaining minutes of the half. North Mac’s efforts in the second quarter would result in a 39-13 lead at the half.
Jordan Harris would lead the Purple Panthers in the scoring column with four points at the half and Tanner Wilson would lead all scorers with 22 points, 19 coming in the second quarter.
Litchfield would regroup at the half and bring another strong effort on the defensive side of the court in the third quarter. The Purple Panthers would slow North Mac’s offense down, allowing 11 points in the quarter.
On the offensive side of the court, the Purple Panters would add five points to their total. Bryce Hires would connect on a three-point basket, while Jordan Harris put in his sixth point of the contest. North Mac’s six-point difference in the quarter grew their lead to 50-18 after three quarters of action.
In the final quarter, the Purple Panthers would continue to fight until the buzzer sounded. Litchfield would get seven points in the quarter. Jace Stewart would add three points and Jordan Harris and Jeremie Yakana both would add two points.
The opening efforts would prove the young Purple Panthers are continuing to grow, but North Mac’s experience would be too much for Litchfield to handle as North Mac would claim a 63-25 victory.
The win would move North Mac to 5-2 overall and drop Litchfield to 0-5 overall. Jordan Harris would lead the Purple Panthers in scoring with eight points, followed by Jace Stewart’s six points.
The Purple Panthers will continue action in the South Central Conference when they welcome the Southwestern Piasa Birds to Litchfield on Monday, March 1.
February 27 at Girard
Litchfield 10 3 5 7 25
North Mac 10 29 11 13 63
North Mac (63) - Tanner Wilson 24, Ryler Marko 13, Matt Hendricks 9, Cole Hatalla 6, Gabe Givens 5, Carson Raynor 4, Kannon Kirk 2. Totals: 23-58 7-13 63.
Litchfield (25) - Jordan Harris 8, Jace Stewart 6, Bryce Hires 3, Blaine Stewart 2, Jeremie Yakana 2, Keenan Powell 2, Carson Saathoff 2. Totals: 10-40 4-7 25.
Three-point field goals: North Mac 10-37 (Wilson 4, Marko 3, Hendricks 2, Givens 1); Litchfield 1-9 (Hires).
Records: Litchfield (0-5); North Mac (5-2).