Balanced scoring and an active defense helped the Litchfield Lady Panthers build a 32-14 halftime lead against Riverton Monday night, Jan. 27, and it was all they needed as they posted a 58-36 non conference win over the visiting Hawks.
It was the first visit to Simmons Gym for the Lady Hawks in Litchfield Coach Rob Corso's tenure and with a starting lineup that contains just one senior and three sophomores, the Panthers' man-to-man defense was a thorn in Riverton's side from the get go as they forced 15 turnovers in the game that generated 30 Panther points.
The two teams will meet again in the 19th Annual Lady Hawks Christmas Classic in late December, 2020, as Litchfield has opted to leave the Carlinville Holiday Classic and compete in the Riverton tournament. Petersburg PORTA defeated Pana to claim the title of last year's tournament, which attracted 16 teams.
Against Riverton, Litchfield controlled the opening tip against the Lady Hawks and within seconds Carly Boden would make her presence known in the paint as she scored an uncontested layup. A steal by Carson Jackson and another layup put the Panthers up 4-0 before Chloe Kendall struck from outside for three and Caleigh Hall buried one from the top of the key to give the Hawks a 5-4 lead.
A timeout by Litchfield yielded a forced turnover by the Hawks that led to a bucket by Emily Senjan that reversed the lead, but Madison Lingleo's deuce put Riverton up 7-6.
The Panthers would end the quarter with a 10-0 run that started with a pretty turnaround jumper from Cara Pence, followed by a three ball by Becky Painter, another bucket from Senjan and a trey from Carson Jackson.
The second period again belonged to Litchfield as both teams equaled their point total in the first period. Boden was a force inside as she dropped in six from her post position and Madison Diamond struck gold from beyond the arc and also meshed a 15-footer. Senjan and Jackson each hit for two and Pence added a free throw. Lingleo, Dana Williams and Tori Scales accounted for Riverton's six second quarter points and the Hawks trailed 32-14 at the half.
Tori Scales opened the third quarter with a nice scoop shot that dropped, but Abbie Turner's basket and her free throw would be the only points the Hawks put on the scoreboard in the next seven minutes as the purple and white offense continued to click with baskets from Senjan, Diamond, Jackson, Pence, Boden and Painter, the latter of whom hit her second three in the game.
The Lady Hawks settled down and played with more confidence in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Panthers 17-11, with Lingleo leading the charge. The senior guard got hot from behind the arc and buried two three-pointers and added a two-point bucket. Tori Scales slipped by the interior Panther defense for six points and Chloe Kendall nailed her second three point basket in the game.
For Litchfield, sophomore Lily Braasch and freshman Olivia Fleming came off the bench and scored a basket each, while Boden closed out her 14-point night with two more from close range. Boden finished the game as the scoring leader and went 7-of-10 from the floor. Carson Jackson was not far back with 11, hitting 5-of-7 and 1-of-3 from beyond the arc.
As a team, the Lady Panthers shot 55 percent from the floor (26-of-47) and 40 percent from beyond the arc (4-of-10). The Panther defense forced 15 Riverton turnovers that accounted for 30 points. Litchfield pulled down 24 rebounds, 13 defensive and 11 offensive.
They limited their turnovers to five and had 23 assists with Cara Pence at the top with seven dishes. Becky Painter was the top rebounder with six, followed by Cara Pence and Emily Senjan each with five. Painter, Pence and Senjan accounted for nine of the Litchfield's 12 steals.
Riverton shot 44 percent from the floor (15-of-34) and 29 percent from beyond the arc (4-of-14). They grabbed 17 rebounds and scored seven points off Litchfield turnovers with three steals.
The Panthers are on the road to Piasa Southwestrn tonight, Jan. 30, and play an afternoon game at 1 p.m. at Gillespie on Saturday, Feb. 1.
January 27 at Litchfield
Litchfield 16 16 15 11 58
Riverton 7 7 5 17 36
Litchfield (58) - Carly Boden 14, Carson Jackson 11; Emily Senjan 8, Becky Painter 8, Maddie Diamond 7, Cara Pence 6, Lily Braasch 2, Olivia Fleming 2. Totals: 26-47 2-5 58.
Riverton (36) - Madison Lingleo 12, Tori Scales 10, Chloe Kendall 6, Abbie Turnr 4, Dana Williams 2, Caleigh Hall 2. Totals: 15-34 2-4 36.
Three-point field goals: Litchfield 4-10 (Painter 2, Jackson 1, Diamond 1; Riverton 4-14 (Lingleo 2, Kendall 2).
Records: Litchfield (13-11, 2-4); Riverton (2-19, 0-6).