Purple Panthers Battle Adversity, Comets

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In life, in sports, when things do not go your way, all the problems begin to pile up on you. When the negatives attack you it is not always the result that is looked for, but how you handle the adversity. On Tuesday night, Feb. 18, in Greenville, the Litchfield Purple Panthers would put together a solid performance minus a starter out with the flu. The result would end up being a 64-44 Comet victory, but the Purple Panthers would be able to learn a lot from the contest.

Blake McGill would begin the contest with the opening basket as the Purple Panthers and Comets would begin to exchange points. Greenville would grab a 6-3 lead before Litchfield would get points from Anthony Boston and Blake McGill, squaring the contest at six points. 

The Comets would use the final minutes of the opening quarter to build the biggest lead of the night as they would outscore the Purple Panthers 7-2. Litchfield would get their basket, during the Comet run, with under a minute to play as Anthony Boston connected on his third point of the quarter. The late Comet surge would give Greenville a 13-8 lead after one quarter.

Again the Purple Panthers would start a quarter with the first points. Anthony Boston would put in the opening basket of the second frame as Litchfield would now trail 13-10. Three minutes later the Comets would get the next basket of the quarter. 

The Comet basket would spark another 7-2 run that would last over two minutes as Greenville built a 20-12 lead with under three minutes to play in the half. Jacob Budd would put a stop to the Comets’ run as he connected on two free throws, the first varsity points of his career. 

Budd’s baskets would narrow the Comets’ lead to 20-14, but Greenville  would respond with their 22nd point of the contest. 

Litchfield again would have an answer as they would get baskets from John Corso and Cameron Crow, narrowing the Comets’ lead to 22-18 late in the second quarter. 

Even though Litchfield would throw everything at the Comets, Greenville would have an answer for every Litchfield challenge. The Comets would wrap up the first half with a 7-1 run, pushing their lead up to 29-19 at the half. John Corso would lead the Purple Panthers in the scoring column with five points, all coming in the second quarter.

The Comets would come out of the locker room at halftime on a mission. Making sure the Purple Panthers would not put together an upset, the Comets would use the opening minutes of the third quarter to expand on their lead. Greenville would put up 20 points in the third frame as they would shoot 42 percent from the field and bury three of their four three-point attempts. 

On the other side of the court, the Purple Panthers would struggle to respond to the Comets’ challenge as they would put in six points as Litchfield would shoot 3-for-11 from the field in the quarter. The struggles for the Purple Panthers in the quarter would result in a Comets 49-25 lead after three quarters. 

Throughout the year the Purple Panthers would respond to adversity by not quitting, but instead looking for ways to improve. Litchfield would continue their no quit attitudes in the final quarter, where they would continue to look at ways to improve.

The Purple Panthers would win the final quarter outscoring the Comets 19-15, but the Comets’ 24-point lead heading into the final frame would be too big of a lead for the Purple Panthers to overcome. 

Even though Litchfield would walk away from the contest with a 64-44 defeat they would get some looks at some young faces as Cameron Crow would put in six points, Jacob Budd would connect on four points, and Chase Hires would add three points.

Senior John Corso would continue to fight as his career winds down, as he would be five points away from a double-double with five points and ten rebounds. The big man in the paint, Anthony Boston, would lead the Purple Panthers with 13 points as eight Purple Panthers would put in points. 

The loss would drop Litchfield to 1-7 in the South Central Conference and 9-19 overall as the Comets would improve to 6-2 in the South Central Conference and 10-12 overall. 

Litchfield will wrap up their regular season on Friday, Feb. 21, when they travel to Hillsboro.

Feb. 18 at Greenville

Litchfield 8 11 6 19 44

Greenville 13 16 20 15 64

Litchfield (44) - Anthony Boston 13, Blake McGill 10, Cameron Crow 6, John Corso 5, Jacob Budd 4, Chase Hires 3, Blaine Stewart 2, Austin Niehaus 1. Totals: 21 6-12 44.

Greenville (64) - Jack Schaufelberger 19, Fletcher Manhart 16, Peyton McCullough 12, Desmond Gardner 10, Gabe Lager 5, Nathan Grull 2. Totals: 27 2-5 64.

Three-point field goals: Litchfield 0; Greenville 8 (Manhart 4, McCullough 2, Gardner 1, Schaufelberger 1).

Records: Litchfield (9-19, 1-7); Greenville (10-12, 6-2).

Class 2A Boys Basketball Gillespie Regional

Monday, February 24

Game 1: 7 p.m. - #8 Hillsboro vs. #9 Gillespie

Tuesday, February 25

Game 2 at 6 p.m. - #4 Breese Central vs.  #11 Litchfield

Game 3 at 7:30 p.m. - #7 Staunton vs. #10 Carlinville

Wednesday, February 26

Game 4 at 6 p.m. - #1 Breese Mater Dei vs. Winner Game 1

Game 5 at 7:30 p.m. - Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3

Friday, February 28

Game 6 at 7 p.m. - Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5

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