Defense, defense, defense was the Purple Panthers’ battle cry on Wednesday night, Dec. 15, when they hosted the Minutemen from Bunker Hill. In the unusual Wednesday night affair, Litchfield would claim their second straight win knocking off the Minutemen 54-28. The win would square Litchfield’s record at four.
In the opening minutes it would be the A.J. Odle show on the offensive side of the court. Odle would pour in the first eight points of the contest as Litchfield would jump out to an 8-0 lead.
The sophomore guard would take advantage of the Bunker Hill early miscues as he would turn four of the first five Minutemen turnovers into points. Carson Saathoff would add the 10th point of the contest for Litchfield, all before Bunker Hill could connect on a basket.
The Minutemen, who entered the contest averaging 32 points a ball game, would get their first basket of the game with just under three minutes to play in the opening quarter. Litchfield’s defense would not allow Bunker Hill to tally any more points in the quarter.
The lack of points by Bunker Hill would be the result of the tough Litchfield defense as the Panthers would force 13 Bunker Hill turnovers in the quarter.
Litchfield would add two more baskets before Odle would close out the quarter with his 10th point of the quarter as Litchfield would lead 16-2 after one quarter.
The second quarter would be the same story for the Panthers on the defensive side of the court. Litchfield would continue to force Bunker Hill out of their comfort zones, creating Minutemen errors, as Bunker Hill would commit another 11 turnovers in the contest.
Committing over 20 turnovers in the first half, Bunker Hill would struggle to put points on the board. The Minutemen would be able to squeeze in six points in the quarter to give them eight first half points.
Even though the same story was seen on the defensive side of the court for Litchfield, on the offensive side of the court a new scorer would emerge in the contest. Victor McGill, averaging 17.8 points per game, is not a stranger in the score book on the season and in this contest, he would be able to put 10 points on the board in the second quarter after being held scoreless in the first eight minutes.
Five other Panthers would add points during the quarter as Litchfield put 20 more points on the board. Odle would lead all scorers in the first half with 12 points as Litchfield would hold a 36-8 lead at the half.
The last time Litchfield won two games in a row was in December of 2019, when the Panthers defeated Hillsboro and Bunker Hill. Looking for their second straight win Litchfield would continue to keep a tight grip around the Minutemen in the second half.
Litchfield would use the opening minutes of the second half to build on their 28-point lead as they would outscore Bunker Hill 8-2 in the opening minutes.
Kelvin Dooley’s basket would cap off the early run as Litchfield would now hold a 44-10 lead with just over three minutes to play in the quarter.
After two quick baskets from Bunker Hill, Gavin Thimsen would connect on a field goal for Litchfield before the Minutemen scored four points on one play. During a deep shot from behind the arc Bunker Hill’s Jaydon Hausman would be fouled. Hausman’s three-point basket would tickle the nylon and he would put in the free throw attempt to complete the four point play. The unusual play would narrow the Litchfield lead to 46-18 with a minute to play in the quarter.
Again Odle would get in on the scoring as he put in the basket that sealed the third frame as Litchfield would lead 48-10 after three quarters of action.
The final quarter would be another quick one for Litchfield. The Panthers would average only 10.8 points per game, their lowest average of all four quarters, in the final quarter, mostly due to running clocks. Litchfield would stay below that average in this contest as they would tally six fourth quarter points.
Harrison Thomas would get two of those six points in the quarter as Litchfield would secure a 54-28 victory.
A.J. Odle would lead all scorers in the winning effort as he would tally 14 points in the contest. Victor McGill would follow Odle with 12 points as nine total Panthers would put points on the board. Litchfield would only allow three Minutemen to score in the contest.
The win would be Litchfield’s fourth of the year as they would move to 4-4 overall; the loss would drop Bunker Hill to 1-7 overall.
December 15 at Litchfield
Bunker Hill 2 6 8 12 28
Litchfield 16 20 12 6 54
Bunker Hill (28) - Keegan Ralston 12, Jaydon Hausman 10, Daniel Manar 6. Totals: 12 1-3 28.
Litchfield (54) - A.J. Odle 14, Victor McGill 12, Gavin Thimsen 6, Keenan Powell 5, Nate Fetter 5, Tate Dobrinich 4, Carson Saathoff 4, Kelvin Dooley 2, Harrison Thomas 2. Totals: 25 4-10 54.
Three-point field goals: Bunker Hill 3 (Hausman 3); Litchfield 0.
Records: Litchfield (4-4); Bunker Hill (1-7).
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