Panthers Find Their Mojo Against Shells


It was double the pleasure, double the fun against Roxana last Wednesday night, March 3, in Simmons Gym as the senior/sophomore tandem of Cara Pence and Laura Boston each posted double-doubles to lead the Litchfield Lady Panthers to a 43-18 South Central Conference win that marked their first of the abbreviated pandemic season. 

In their 25-point win over the Lady Shells, Pence put up 20 points to lead all scorers and pulled down 13 rebounds, while Boston netted 11 and grabbed 10 caroms. The Panthers couldn’t connect from behind the arc, but the need was not there as the paint became the “go to” sweet spot where the majority of their points were scored.

Freshman Kinsley Mouser gave the Lady Shells their only lead of the game early in the first quarter with a three ball, but the next 10 points belonged to Pence (6), Becky Painter (2) and Carly Guinn (2). The Lady Shells suffered a major blow to their offense in the period as junior Alyssa Luck went down with what appeared to be a knee injury and she did not return to action.

Litchfield outscored their guests 13-6 in the second on the strength of Pence, who scored another eight points. Guinn and Boston accounted for two and three points respectively as the Panthers zipped to a 23-9 halftime lead.

A low scoring third quarter yielded six points for each team with Boston scoring four and Pence adding two. Lexi Ryan had four of Roxana’s six quarter points and Macie Lucas chipped in the other two. 

Balanced scoring within the Lady Panther lineup keyed a 14-3 run that closed the books. Pence and Boston each had four points while senior Sara Yakana slipped the defense and scored on a pretty layup for points 40 and 41. Freshman Annika Rhodes’ second bucket ended game.

In addition to her 20 game points and 13 rebounds, Pence had four steals and two assists. She connected on 10-of-14 from the floor. Boston nailed 5-of-8 of her shots from the paint, had five defensive and five offensive rebounds and found time for a steal and an assist. 

In other individual stats, Lily Braasch had seven rebounds, with Rhodes grabbing three and Becky Painter two. The Panthers had 14 steals with Painter leading the charge with five, followed by Guinn with three and Yakana with one. Painter was the assist leader with 10 and Guinn had three.

As a team, the Lady Shells hit just 7-of-27 shots from floor and went 1-for-14 from downtown. They had 14 turnovers, 13 steals and scored 12 points in the paint. Lexi Ryan was the top scorer with six points.

The 2021 Lady Panther basketball schedule comes to a close on March 10 when they travel to Vandalia. The two teams met on Feb. 22 at Litchfield and it took a 12-3 fourth quarter spurt to lift the Lady Vandals over their hosts by five.

Prior to that, the team will take on Pana on Tuesday, March 9.

March 3 at Litchfield

Litchfield 10 13 6 14 43

Roxana 3 6 6 3 43

Litchfield (43) - Cara Pence 20, Laura Boston 11, Carly Guinn 4, Annika Rhodes 4, Becky Painter 2, Sara Yakana 2. Totals: 21-42 1-3 43.

Roxana (18) - Lexi Ryan 6, Kinsely Mouser 4, Olivia Mouser 4, Macie Lucas 2, Abby Gehrs 2, Aubrey Wiegand 2. Totals: 8-41 1-3 18.

Three-point field goals: Roxana 1-14 (Mouser 1); Litchfield 0-7.

Records: Litchfield (1-6, 1-5); Roxana (6-6, 1-4).

Litchfield Outlasts Cavaliers

Just 48 hours after picking up a home conference win over Roxana, the Litchfield Lady Panthers put on their road sneakers and headed to Carlinville Friday night, March 5, to face Coach Darrin DeNeve’s Lady Cavaliers in what turned out to be a low scoring nail biter. 

The game wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter when Litchfield sophomore Laura Boston broke a 23-23 tie and was fouled in the act of shooting. Boston’s “and one” put the Lady Panthers up by three and senior Cara Pence capped it off with two of her game-high 16 points. 

Trailing by five, Carlinville’s final score came from sophomore Lillie Reels who was fouled and canned both charity tosses but time ran out on the Cavies and Litchfield snuck out of town with a 28-25 South Central Conference win.

Carlinville jumped out to a 5-0 lead early in the first quarter behind a three-pointer by senior Jill Stayton and a score from Gracie Reels. Reels finished the night as the leading scorer for the Lady Cavaliers with 10 points. 

Baskets by Boston and Pence drew the Panthers to within a point before Stayton would strike again and it was 7-4 Carlinville after one.

The visitors outscored their hosts 9-7 in the second quarter as Pence scored five off a trey and a deuce, while Carly Guinn and Becky Painter each scored their only baskets of the game. 

Addi Paul’s three-pointer and baskets by Maycee Gall and G. Reels accounted for Carlinville’s seven points and a scant 14-13 halftime lead belonged to the navy and red.

Pence became the Panther offense in the third quarter as the Cavalier defense could not contain her in the paint. She answered with 3-of-6 free throws and a layup. Guinn also got her turn from the free-throw line as she canned 1-of-2 early in the period. G. Reels rang up her first of two three-point baskets in the second half and Gall was good for two as the two teams were tied at 19 heading into the fourth period.

Boston and Pence accounted for all of Litchfield’s nine fourth quarter points. 

Litchfield out-rebounded Carlinville 32-28 with Pence leading the charge with eight pull downs, 16 points, four steals, two assists and a block. Boston scored seven points, had five rebounds, an assist and a steal. 

Freshman Annika Rhodes did not score, but grabbed six rebounds, had four assists and two steals. Junior Lily Braasch recorded five rebounds and a steal. Senior Becky Painter scored two points, had two steals, an assist and four rebounds. Junior Carly Guinn grabbed four rebounds, had two assists, a steal and three points.

March 5 at Carlinville

Litchfield 4 9 6 9 28

Carlinville 7 7 5 6 25

Litchfield (28) - Cara Pence 16, Laura Boston 7, Carly Guinn 3, Becky Painter 2. Totals: 11-28 5-15 28.

Carlinville (25) - Gracie Reels 10, Jill Stayton 6, Maycee Gall 4, Addi Paul 3, Lillie Reels 2. Totals: 9-47 3-5 25.

Three-point field goals: Carlinville 4-24 (G. Reels 2, Stayton 1, Paul 1); Litchfield 1-6 (Pence 1).

Records: Litchfield (2-7, 2-6); Carlinville (3-7, 1-6).

Comets Halt Lady Panthers Win Streak At Two Games

Greenville Coach Kolin Dothager’s Comets outscored Litchfield 31-14 in the first half and the hill was just too big for the Lady Panthers to climb up the second half as Greenville closed out their South Central Conference season with a 54-29 afternoon decision over Litchfield on March 6. 

The Lady Comets finished 7-2 in league play and are 9-4 overall with three non-conference games remaining on their schedule. Litchfield will finish the season with games at Pana on Tuesday and Vandalia on Wednesday.

After notching back-to-back wins against Roxana and Carlinville, the Lady Panthers didn’t have the same spring in their step against a talented Lady Comets lineup, led by 5’11” senior Gwyn Mitchell who topped all scorers with 16 points. 

While all of Mitchell’s points were scored conventionally, the Lady Comets showcased their ability to hit from long range as they buried eight three-point baskets. Senior Natalie Iberg sunk a trey in every quarter, while sophomore Lilly Funnemann scored her two in the second period. Junior Brooklyn Suzuki dropped one in the first quarter and freshman Katie Campbell netted hers in the third.

Greenville was 13-of-32 from the floor and 8-of-17 from behind the arc. They scored 24 points from within the paint and 27 points came as a result of Panther turnovers. 

While neither team had an edge at the free-throw line, Litchfield senior Cara Pence picked up two fouls early in the first quarter. The Lady Comets held a 28-25 edge in rebounding and had 18 steals in the contest.

Litchfield finished the night with 38 shot attempts from the floor and connected on 13. Junior Lily Braasch led her team with 10 points. Litchfield scored 22 points from the paint and captured 14 points off Greenville miscues. They were 0-for-8 from three-point land.

The hosts outscored their guests 14-4 in the first quarter and used a 17-point second period to increase their lead to 20 at the half. For Litchfield, Laura Boston and Braasch were the only two to find bottom of the net in the first while Braasch, Annika Rhodes and Boston each scored in second quarter.

Litchfield mounted a mini charge in the third quarter by trimming the Panther deficit to 14, but Greenville didn’t budge and outscored the Lady Panthers 11-4 to maintain a commanding 22-point lead heading into the final period. Pence scored six of her seven game points in the third period. 

The Comets again held the upper hand in the fourth quarter to close out the win. Mitchell scored six, Iberg canned a three and Charlee Sterns had two. For Litchfield, Braasch had four points, Sara Yakana had two and Pence and Rhodes scored from the charity stripe. 

Braasch finished the game with 10 points, five rebounds, an assist and a steal. Senior Becky Painter picked the boards for six rebounds, had six assists and five steals. Pence scored seven points, had four rebounds and four assists. 

Sophomore Laura Boston contributed seven points and had four rebounds while freshman Annika Rhodes had a three throw, pulled down four rebounds, dished two assists and had three steals. Junior Carly Guinn chipped in two points and had three defensive picks. Sophomore Lauren Monke did not score but had a steal against the Comets.

March 6 at Greenville

Greenville 14 17 12 11 54

Litchfield 4 7 10 8 29

Greenville (54) - Gwyn Mitchell 18, Natalie Iberg 12, Abby Sussenbach 6, Lilly Funnemann 6, Katie Campbell 5, Brooklyn SuzukI 5, Charlee Sterns 2. Totals: 21-49 4-5 59.

Litchfield (28) - Lily Braasch 10, Cara Pence 7, Laura Boston 7, Carly Guinn 2, Sara Yakana 2, Annika Rhodes 1. Totals: 13-38 3-5 29.

Three-point field goals: Greenville 8-17 (Iberg 4, Funnemann 2, Suzuki 1, Campbell 1); Litchfield 0-8.

Records: Litchfield (2-7, 2-6); Greenville (9-4, 7-2).


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