Trailing by 15 points at the end of three quarters, Coach Brandon Engelman's Nokomis Lady Redskins mounted a furious rally at Litchfield Tuesday night, Nov. 19, that fell just short as the Lady Panthers hung on for a 38-32 decision, their second win in two days.
After scoring just four points in the third quarter, the Redskins outscored their hosts 17-8 in the final frame, but it was Becky Painter's two free throws with 14.9 ticks remaining that sealed the deal for the purple and white in a game that kept the men in stripes on their toes.
The two teams combined for 39 personal fouls and four of Litchfield's eight fourth quarter points came at the charity stripe as the Panthers struggled to score against the Nokomis pressure defense.
Nokomis controlled the opening tip that was rewarded with a layup by Macee Eisenbarth, followed by an inside basket by Audrey Sabol to make it 4-1, Nokomis. It would be the only lead they would hold as the score stayed close until the last two minutes of the period, when the purple and white opened up a 14-6 lead that started at the free-throw line when Painter dropped in two after being fouled in the act of shooting.
Carson Jackson would swish a three and Carly Boden's inside score put the Panthers up 10-4. Kristen Stauder countered with a nice drive around the Litchfield defense for two. Boden and Maddie Diamond would round out the scoring for Litchfield as the quarter ended 14-6 in favor of the Panthers.
Fouls began to mount up for Nokomis in the second period and Painter began to heat up for Litchfield as she scored eight of the Panthers' 12 points in the frame. Hailey Engelman and Natalie Engelman had the only baskets in the period for Nokomis and Sabol's lone free throw tacked on a single score as the Redskins were again outscored 12-5 and went to the locker room trailing 26-11 at the half.
A lackluster third period produced two field goals from each team. Stauder and Eisenbarth scored for Nokomis and Emily Senjan and Cara Pence found the rim for Litchfield.
Litchfield inbounded the ball to start the fourth period and within 38 seconds, junior Cara Pence picked up two fouls, followed by the third personal whistled against Audrey Sabol. Boden converted both free throws for Litchfield and it was 32-15, Panthers.
Nokomis would outscore Litchfield 7-0 as the Panthers turned the ball over on offense and lacked energy on defense. A look from Senjan to Boden inside would break the scoring drought for Litchfield with 4:05 remaining, but it was Stauder's three ball from the side pocket that would remind the Panthers that the Redskins were in it to win it.
A layup by Mia Fesser drew the score to 34-28, Litchfield. The Panthers would have a look from the free-throw line to add to their point total after Diamond's pick, but she could not convert on the one and one and with 2:10 on the clock, Eisenbarth had a nice spin move for a layup to draw the Redskins within four. With 1:48 ticks on the clock, Pence fouled Eisenbarth and she calmly dropped in both free throws as the Redskins were now within two.
A Panther turnover, followed by a take back by Senjan, put Litchfield in the driver's seat but Nokomis was not done and regained possession with 1:04 to play. Diamond would intercept on the inbound pass and had a breakaway layup for two and was fouled, but missed the bonus. Painter was fouled on the rebound and with 14.9 seconds left and Litchfield in the double bonus, she drained them both.
In their haste to get down the floor and score, the Redskins were called for traveling and the horn sounded to end the Redskins' comeback.
The Panthers hit only 12-of-54 from the floor and just 3-of-21 from beyond the arc. They were 12-of-23 from charity stripe and pulled down 41 rebounds. They scored 16 points in the paint and gained 17 points off Redskin turnover. The Panthers committed 11 turnovers in the contest and had eight picks. They were whistled for 17 personal fouls.
For Nokomis, the Redskins sank 11-of-40 shots from the floor and had only one three pointer. They were 9-of-14 from the free-throw line and scored 20 points in the paint. They grabbed 40 rebounds and scored six points off Panther turnovers. They were called for 22 personal fouls.
Litchfield will open play in the 21st Annual Turkey Classic on Saturday, Nov. 23, in their home gym. Tipoff is at 1 p.m. between Nokomis and Southwestern, with the Lady Panthers taking on Carlyle at 3:30 p.m. Staunton is also in this year's tournament field.
November 19 at Litchfield
Litchfield 14 12 4 8 - 38
Nokomis 6 5 4 17 - 32
Litchfield (38) - Becky Painter 13, Carly Boden 10, Maddie Diamond 6, Emily Senjan 3, Carson Jackson 3, Cara Pence 3. Totals: 10 (12-21) 38.
Nokomis (32) - Macee Eisenbarth 9, Kristen Stauder 7, Audrey Sabol 5, Mia Fesser 4, Hailey Engelman 5, Natalie Engelman 2. Totals: 10 (9-14) 32.
3-Point Field Goals: Litchfield (2) - Becky Painter 1, Carson Jackson 1. Nokomis (1) - Kristen Stauder 1.
Records: Litchfield (2-0); Nokomis (0-1).
21st Annual Litchfield Girls Basketball Thanksgiving Round Robin
Saturday, November 23
1 p.m. - Nokomis vs. Southwestern
3:30 p.m. - Carlyle vs. Litchfield
Monday, November 25
6 p.m. - Carlyle vs. Nokomis
7:30 p.m. - Staunton vs. Southwestern
Tuesday, November 26
6 p.m. - Carlyle vs. Southwestern
7:30 p.m. - Staunton vs. Litchfield
Friday, November 29
6 p.m. - Carlyle vs. Staunton
7:30 p.m. - Nokomis vs. Litchfield
Saturday, November 30
1 p.m. - Nokomis vs. Staunton
3:30 p.m. - Southwestern vs. Litchfield