Skins Spoil Panthers Opener


The Litchfield Lady Panther basketball season got off to a rough start Tuesday night, Nov. 16, as the Nokomis Redskins dominated play from start to finish and left Simmons Gym with a 52-20 decision over their hosts. 

Nokomis Coach Brandon Engelman’s all junior starting lineup cruised to a 30-5 first half lead as the Litchfield offense fell prey to the Redskins’ ball pressure, which disrupted both Litchfield’s shot selection and ball possession.

The three ball accounted for 12 of the Redskins’ 16 first quarter points with Natalie Engelman ringing up two treys and Hailey Engelman and Carley King each buried one.

The Panthers did not get on the score board until 3:49 when Hailey Rentz was fouled in the act of shooting a three, but she netted just one of the three charity tosses. Litchfield’s only other basket in the quarter came from Lily Braasch at the 3:38 mark and the quarter ended with Nokomis up by 13.

The Panthers were outscored 14-2 in the second period as Addison Dangbar heated up for seven points, including a three-point basket. Audrey Sabol got loose for four from the paint and Emma Sneddon had a basket and a free throw. 

Again the Panthers didn’t score until late in the period but with 2:31 left, freshman Elise Walch navigated her way through the Redskin defense and scored on a layup. Walch would become a lightening rod in the Panther offense as she drained a three in the third quarter and another in the final eight minutes and finished the game as the Panthers leading scorer with eight points.

Litchfield outscored Nokomis 11-6 in the third period as both coaches went to their bench freely, however the choices are limited for Litchfield Coach Rob Corso as the Panther roster lists just nine players, four of whom are sophomores and freshmen while Nokomis has a 13-player roster. 

The youngsters answered the bell for Litchfield as sophomore Madisyn Brememkamp cashed in a two, freshmen Elise Walch notched a three-pointer and Gina Painter found her way to the hoop for two. Laura Boston scored her first basket of the game from the paint, another welcome sight as the 5’11” junior averaged 4.6 points per game as a sophomore and scored 42 points in the paint during the 2020-2021 shortened 11-game COVID season. 

The Redskins’ six third quarter points came from Sabol, who had three charity tosses and a basket, and Addison Dangbar, who also had a charity toss.

Nokomis reversed Litchfield’s fortune in the final eight minutes and found a rhythm from behind the arc as Becca Hill nailed two treys and Natalie Engelman sank her third of the game. Nokomis then went inside and out with Sabol canning six from down low. 

Elise Walch’s three-pointer was the only basket that Litchfield could muster, however Hailey Rentz did connect for one of two free throws before the final horn sounded for a 52-20 Redskin win in their season opener.

The Redskins shot 37.3% from the floor (19-51). They connected on 11-of-30 two-points baskets and 8-of-21 from behind the arc. They tossed in 6-of-10 free throws. They grabbed 18 rebounds (8 offensive, 10 defensive), pulled off 21 steals and dished out 15 assists.

Audrey Sabol led all scorers with 19 points, four rebounds and two defensive steals. Natalie Engelman was the sharp shooter from long range as she canned three treys. Emily Cress led in rebounding with five offensive and one defensive caroms and Addison Dangbar matched Sabol’s rebounds with four. Natalie and Hailey Engelman each had four steals. Natalie also recorded five assists and Hailey had three.

The Litchfield offense shot 23% from the floor (8-34). They connected on 6-of-24 two-point baskets and 2-of-10 from behind the arc. They went to the free throw line just four times and sank two of the four. They pulled down 21 rebounds (8 offensive, 13 defensive) with Hailey Rentz leading the way with six and Lily Braasch with four. Freshman Elise Walch finished the night as the leading scorer with eight points, including two three-pointers. Emma Walch led the team with three steals and Laura Boston had two.

Next up for the Panthers is a road game at Brownstown this evening before hosting their annual Thanksgiving Tournament which begins Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Simmons Gym. Five teams will complete in the round robin event including Carlyle, Nokomis, Southwestern, Staunton and Litchfield.

Nokomis played another county foe, Hillsboro, on Nov. 17, and will play the 1 p.m. game on Saturday, Nov. 20, against the Piasa Birds of Southwestern.

Nov. 16 at Litchfield

Nokomis 16 14 6 16 52

Litchfield 3 2 11 4 20

Nokomis (52) - Audrey Sabol 19, Natalie Engelman 9, Addison Dangbar 8, Becca Hill 6, Emma Sneddon 4, Hailey Engelman 3, Carley King 3. Totals: 19 (6-10) 52.

Litchfield (20) - Elise Walch 8, Laura Boston 4, Hailey Rentz 2, Lily Braasch 2, Gina Painter 2, Madisyn Bremerkamp 2. Totals: 8 (2-4) 20.

Three-point field goals: Nokomis 8-21 (N. Engelman 3, Hill 2, H. Engelman 1, Dangbar 1, King 1); Litchfield 2-10 (El. Walch 2).

Records: Nokomis (1-0), Litchfield (0-1).


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