Riding a two game winning streak, Litchfield would extend the streak to three games on Tuesday night, Dec. 10, against the Bunker Hill Minutemen. In a 46-45 hard fought contest in Simmons Gym, Litchfield would survive a late push from Bunker Hill, claiming their fourth win of the season.
The Minutemen would be unfriendly guests in the opening minutes of the contest as they would connect on the first two field goals. After a pair of three-point field goals from Blake McGill and Blaine Stewart, the Purple Panthers would have their first lead of the night at 6-4.
Again, the Minutemen would take over the lead and this time would extend it to 11-6 with just over a minute to play.
Blaine Stewart would put an end to the Minutemen run with his second three-pointer of the quarter, narrowing the Bunker Hill lead. Stewart's basket would be the last of the opening quarter as Bunker Hill would hold an 11-9 lead.
The Purple Panthers would hold the Minutemen off the scoreboard for the first four and a half minutes of the second quarter. In that span Litchfield would add eight points and regain the lead at 17-11.
Austin Niehaus would help the Purple Panthers as he collected four of the eight points during the second quarter run. Bunker Hill would not go away though as they would return the favor with a run of their own. The Minutemen would put up seven straight points, taking over the lead at 18-17 with just over two minutes to play in the half.
Austin Niehaus would continue a solid second quarter as he would connect on his third field goal with just under two minutes left. Niehaus' basket would give the contest its fifth lead change as the Purple Panthers would now hold a 19-18 lead.
After the Minutemen put in their 20th point of the half, Niehaus would add his seventh point of the quarter, knocking down one of two free throws attempted. The late free throw for the Purple Panthers would send both teams to locker room with 20 points apiece.
With two three point field goals in the first quarter and two free throws in the second quarter Blaine Stewart would lead all scorers in the first half with eightpoints. Niehaus' second quarter efforts would follow Stewart's eight points, with seven points.
With a roller coaster of a half in the rear view mirror, both teams would come out of the locker room looking to improve on their first half play.
The Purple Panthers would have the upper hand in the opening minutes of the second half. Litchfield would be the first to take over the lead in the third frame with a 5-2 advantage starting the quarter. The opening push by the Purple Panthers would put them ahead 25-22.
Both teams would exchange baskets before Bunker Hill would be able to take over the lead once again. With the eighth lead change of the contest the Minutemen would hold a 31-29 lead with over a minute to play in the quarter.
Austin Niehaus would quickly respond to the challenge presented by the Minutemen. Niehaus would add four points to his third quarter total, giving him six points in the quarter and Litchfield a 33-31 lead with under a minute to play in the third frame.
Bunker Hill would add a basket before the Purple Panthers would end the third quarter with a basket by Blaine Stewart, giving Litchfield a 35-33 lead after three quarters of action.
During their winning streak the Purple Panthers have had some problems holding onto the basketball as they turned the ball over 38 times in their last two wins. Tuesday night the turnover struggle would continue as Litchfield would commit 12 more turnovers. The biggest turnover came late in the contest giving the Minutemen a chance to take over the lead for the final time.
Leading up to the excitement in the last minute the Purple Panthers would build a 46-39 lead. The Minutemen would respond with six big points to narrow the Litchfield lead to one point with just over a minute to play in regulation.
Leading 46-45, the Purple Panthers would look to run out the clock but the Minutemen defense would defeat Litchfield's plans, as they would regain possession.
On the turnover the Minutemen would have a chance to overcome the Litchfield lead from a few feet away, but would not be able to capitalize on the attempt.
Bunker Hill would not let the failed attempt bother them as they would gain three more attempts in the final ten seconds, with the last chance coming with 1.7 seconds to play.
Bunker Hill would not be able to capitalize on any of the attempts as Litchfield would survive the scare and walk away with a 46-45 victory.
The win would be the fourth of the year for Litchfield as they would move their record to 4-3 overall.
Austin Niehaus and Blaine Stewart would score over half the Purple Panthers' points as they would combine for 26, with both players connecting on 13 points apiece. John Corso would also add seven points, all coming in the fourth quarter.
The Purple Panthers will look to continue their win streak on Friday evening when they open their South Central Conference schedule in Simmons Gym against Southwestern.
December 10 at Litchfield
Bunker Hill 11 9 13 12 45
Litchfield 9 11 15 11 46
Bunker Hill (45) - Devon Ralston 16, Andrew Scroggins 14, Coy Sellars 7, Corey Hall 7, Cole Kiffmeyer 1. Totals: 19 3-5 45.
Litchfield (46) - Blaine Stewart 13, Austin Niehaus 13, Blake McGill 7, John Corso 7, Anthony Boston 6. Totals: 19 5-14 46.
Three-point field goals: Bunker Hill 4 (Scroggins 2, Sellars 1, Hall 1); Litchfield 3 (Stewart 2, McGill 1).
Records: Litchfield (4-3); Bunker Hill (0-3).