Strong Start Pushes Panthers Past Lancers

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Two former co-op partners squared off at the Woodshed in Raymond on Monday, Jan. 3, as Lincolnwood welcomed Litchfield to town.

For four years, between 2013 and 2017, the Lancers were part of the Purple Panther family, a partnership that proved fruitful for both sides. Litchfield got more players, including their all-time leading scorer in Abby Brockmeyer, who scored 2,362 points in those four years, while Lincolnwood players got the opportunity to showcase their skills, which again paid off for Brockmeyer, who is in her fifth and final year at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

But Lincolnwood’s enrollment also bumped the Panthers up to 3A, an unwelcome move up the ladder, especially when Litchfield was only receiving a player or two from their neighbors to the north. After the break-up, the Lancers partnered with Pawnee for two years before restarting their own program in 2019 after a 34-year absence.

Monday’s match-up marked the second time that the two schools had met up in the new era, with Litchfield taking a 53-18 victory during the 2019-2020 season. Round two was much closer, but carried the same result as the Purple Panthers won 53-38 for their third win of the season.

A key to the win would be Litchfield’s quicker start than the host school. In the first four minutes of the first three quarters, Litchfield outscored Lincolnwood 26-5, with the Lancers’ initial basket barely fitting that criteria as Avery Pope hit a two at the four minute mark of the first to cut the Panther lead to 10-2.

The Lancers would keep pace with Litchfield in the second half of the opening quarter, but still trailed by nine, 15-6, after eight minutes.

The Panthers would score the first five points of the second quarter before Haelee Damm knocked down a three at the five minute mark to make it 20-9. Litchfield answered with a field goal and two free throws by Emma Walch as they upped their lead to 15 points, the their largest advantage in the first half.

The Lancers finished off the quarter on an 8-2 run, though, with seven points coming from Pope to make it 26-17 at halftime.

As they had done in the first half, Litchfield started the third quarter on a hot streak. Elise Walch, Laura Boston, Carly Guinn and Gina Painter all had two points apiece before Lincolnwood got on the board. The surge allowed the Panthers to double up the home team, 34-17, with 3:13 to play.

Four points from Avery Pope, coupled with a three by Taryn Millburg, got the Litchfield lead down to 12, but Boston hit a free throw in the final 16 seconds to make it 37-24 with one quarter to play.

Breaking the trend of the first three quarters, Lincolnwood scored first in the fourth, with Pope picking up her sixth field goal and 17th point of the game. When they got the ball back, Litchfield fed Boston down low and the sophomore forward rewarded their faith with seven points in the final quarter.

Lincolnwood managed to keep the Panthers from running away with the game thanks to a pair of threes from Haelee Damm and another triple from Taryn Millburg, but the margin stayed in double digits throughout the quarter and until the final horn.

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Laura Boston’s fourth quarter surge gave her 14 points to lead a balanced Panther attack that saw their biggest point total of the season, with all eight players on the roster score at least one point. Emma Walch joined Boston in double figures with 10 points, while Carly Guinn added nine. 

Elise Walch finished with seven points, followed by Gina Painter with six, Lily Braasch with four, Hailey Rentz with two and Emma Diveley with one.

Avery Pope led the Lancers with 17 points, while Haelee Damm and Taryn Millburg added 12 and seven, with six threes between them. Lilly Terneus was the only other Lincolnwood player to score in the game, hitting a short jumper in the first for her two points.

Both Lincolnwood and Litchfield will be in action again on Thursday, Dec. 6, with the Lancers traveling to Pawnee to take on the Indians (the varsity game will be first) and Litchfield staying at home to host Vandalia in a varsity only contest.

January 3 at Raymond

Litchfield 15 11 11 16 53

Lincolnwood 6 11 7 14 38

Litchfield (53) - Laura Boston 14, Emma Walch 10, Carly Guinn 9, Elise Walch 7, Gina Painter 6, Lily Braasch 4, Hailey Rentz 2, Emma Diveley 1. Totals: 17 17-29 53.

Lincolnwood (38) - Avery Pope 17, Haelee Damm 12, Taryn Millburg 7, Lilly Terneus 2. Totals: 13 6-10 38.

Three-point field goals: Litchfield 2 (El. Walch 1, Em. Walch 1); Lincolnwood 6 (Damm 4, Millburg 2).

Records: Litchfield (3-16); Lincolnwood (1-14).

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