Since Feb. 14, 2020 Simmons Gym has been silent, but on Friday night, Feb. 19, the silence was broken as the Litchfield Purple Panthers finally hit the hardwood in their 2021 campaign.
Litchfield would welcome the 0-3 Staunton Bulldogs for a South Central Conference match-up. The Bulldogs would have the bigger bite in the contest as they would walk away with a 49-24 victory.
Jordan Harris would put in the first points of the contest as Litchfield would take a 2-0 lead in the first minute. After the Bulldogs connected on a two-point basket the Panthers would respond. Bryce Hires put in the second basket of the contest for Litchfield, moving the Panthers back in front of the Bulldogs, 4-2.
Staunton’s Frank Goss would take over the show as he would pile on ten straight points as the Bulldogs would take control of a 12-4 lead in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs would increase their lead to 15-4 before the Panthers would get their next basket, a three by Blaine Stewart. Stewart’s basket would be the last points of the quarter as Staunton would outscore Litchfield 15-7 in the first eight minutes.
The Bulldogs would not slow down in the second frame as they started with a 9-0 run, increasing the lead to 24-7. Chase Hires would get his first basket of the 2021 campaign when Emiliano McGill would find Hires open behind the three-point arc.
Again, the Bulldogs would have an answer as they put together another run, this time 13-0, and would increase their lead to 37-10.
Emiliano McGill would get in on the scoring action as he would put in one of two free throws attempted. McGill’s free throw would narrow the Bulldog lead to 37-11.
Chase Hires would once again put points on the board for the Panthers as he connected on his fifth point of the quarter. The Bulldogs would get a late basket to close out the half as Staunton held a 39-13 lead at the break.
Jordan Harris, who opened the scoring in the contest, put the first points on the board in the opening minutes of the second half.
After a Bulldog basket the Stewart connection would come into play for the first time this season. Freshman Jace Stewart would get his first career basket for the Panthers, with his brother Blaine Stewart setting him up. Stewart’s basket would narrow the Bulldog lead to 41-17.
Staunton would close out the low scoring quarter with four points as the Bulldogs held a 45-17 lead after three frames.
In the final quarter a lot of firsts would occur for the Panthers as freshmen Keenan Powell and Carson Saathoff put in their first baskets of their young careers. Jace Stewart added a point in the quarter as the Panthers would outscore the Bulldogs 7-4 in the final eight minutes.
Staunton’s early efforts would be too much for the Panthers as they spoiled Litchfield’s season opener with a final score of 49-24.
Chase Hires’ five points in the first half would lead all Litchfield scorers, as the Panthers would have eight players in the scoring column.
Even though Litchfield would struggle to put points on the board in their opening contest, finding opportunities to score would not be a problem as they would attempt 46 shots.
The Litchfield loss would start the Panthers at 0-1 overall and in the SCC while the Bulldogs moved to 1-3 overall and 1-0 in the SCC.
February 19 at Litchfield
Litchfield 7 6 4 7 24
Staunton 15 24 6 4 49
Litchfield (24) - Chase Hires 5, Keenan Powell 4, Jordan Harris 4, Blaine Stewart 3, Jace Stewart 3, Bryce Hires 2, Carson Saathoff 2, Emiliano McGill 1. Totals: 10 2-4 24.
Three-point field goals: Litchfield 2 (C. Hires 1, B. Stewart 1).
Records: Litchfield (0-1, 0-1); Staunton (1-3, 1-0).