Fresh off their upset win over Hillsboro Monday night, Pana had enough left in their tank to send Litchfield packing on Tuesday evening, March 9, as they won the battle of the Lady Panthers 51-32 at Pana.
The two back-to-back conference decisions boosted their South Central Conference record to 7-2 and solidified a share of second place (with Greenville and Hillsboro) behind Southwestern, who played to perfection at 9-0.
Litchfield played well in the first and fourth quarters but mustered just five points in the second and four in the third periods.
Senior Cara Pence again carried the scoring load for Litchfield as she finished the night as the leading scorer for both teams with 15 points, eight of which were scored in the fourth quarter behind two three point baskets.
In addition, she grabbed 12 rebounds and was pressed into the role of point guard as Carly Guinn suffered a facial injury and was forced to leave the game. Pence was supported by senior teammate Becky Painter, who dropped in nine points, pulled down three rebounds and had four assists.
For Pana, sophomore Anna Beyers led the charge with 14 points, followed by junior Jillian Hamilton with 10. Senior Brayer Denton was next with seven points and Kiley Ladage added three field goals.
Coach Rob Corso described the Pana lineup as “very athletic and they can shoot the ball” and shoot the ball they did as they nailed 23-of-63 shots from the floor, 11 of which came from behind the arc and three of which fell.
The majority of the Pana damage was done in the second and third quarters as they opened up a 13-point second quarter lead that ballooned to 21 at the end of the third.
Litchfield raced to a 6-0 first quarter lead behind scores from Pence and Painter, but Pana captured their first lead of the game from baskets by Lainey Hicks, Rachel Holthaus and Beyers, the latter of whom nailed a three ball that put the hosts up 7-6.
Brayer Denton’s bucket gave Pana a 9-6 lead but consecutive baskets by Carly Guinn put Litchfield up 10-9. The next four points belonged to Pana and they led 13-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Coach Jason Storm asked his team to step up the defensive pressure in the second period and his request was answered as Pana’s defensive squeeze paid big dividends and ball possession became an issue for the Purple and White. Pana outscored their guests 15-5 to lead by 13 at the half.
The third quarter looked much like the second for Litchfield with turnovers mounting and scoring opportunities reduced. Seniors Cara Pence and Becky Painter accounted for Litchfield’s only four points and the Pana offense clicked as Hamilton dropped in a three-point basket, Denton also had a three and a deuce while Beyers added two scores.
Litchfield outscored Pana 13-11 in the final eight minutes of play with Pence nailing two treys and a short score. In addition, Painter hit a three and Lilly Braasch added a deuce but the deficit was too much to overcome.
Before leaving the game with an injury, Carly Guinn scored six points, had a rebound and two steals. Lily Braasch finished the night with two points, four rebounds and two assists.
The Pana Panthers outrebounded the purple and white 37-26. Litchfield converted 10-of-27 two-point shots and 3-of-9 three-point field goals (36 percent). They scored 18 points in the paint and sank 3-of-4 from the free throw line.
Litchfield wrapped up their season on Wednesday, March 10, at Vandalia.
March 9 at Pana
Pana 13 15 12 11 51
Litchfield 10 5 4 13 32
Pana (51) - Anna Beyers 14, Jillian Hamilton 10, Brayer Denton 7, Kiley Ladage 6, Kylie Hendrickson 4, Lainey Hicks 4, Rachel Holthaus 4, Jadyn Bearup 2. Totals: 23-63 2-3 51.
Litchfield (32) - Cara Pence 15, Becky Painter 9, Carly Guinn 6, Lily Braasch 2. Totals: 13-36 3-4 32.
Three point field goals: Pana 3 (Beyers 1, Denton 1, Hamilton 1); Litchfield 3 (Pence 2, Painter 1).
Records: Litchfield (2-8, 2-7); Pana (11-2, 7-2).