Strong Start Lifts Cavies Over Lady Panthers


After a dismal first half, the visiting Litchfield Lady Panthers found themselves down by 22 points to Carlinville at the half and trailed by as many as 24 in the third quarter. 

Senior Emily Senjan and junior Cara Pence did all they could to bring their team back in the second half but it was not enough as the Cavaliers posted a 46-33 South Central Conference win over their guests. 

Litchfield outscored Carlinville 24-15 in the second half with Senjan pumping in 13 points and Pence adding seven. 

Senjan finished the game as the Panthers scoring leader with 14 points. She was 5-of-9 from the floor, including three treys in the second half, sank 1-of-2 free throws and snagged four rebounds. 

Pence pulled down ten rebounds and she too was 5-of-9 from the floor. She was 1-of-2 from the three-point arc. 

The Panthers will get another crack at the Cavies when they meet on Dec. 28 in the Carlinville Holiday Tournament, which begins on Dec. 26 and concludes on Dec. 30.

Carlinville's tight man-to-man defense caused havoc in the first quarter as Litchfield's turnovers hit the double digit mark and the Cavies cashed in with layup after layup. 

With two minutes gone, Pence would tie the score at two and the remainder of the quarter belonged to the Cavaliers as they raced to an 18-point lead. Carlinville placed six different players in the scoring column, with Corin Stewart leading the charge with six points, followed by Eryn Seal with five and Gracie Reels four. Jill Stayton, Elise Baker and Sarah DeNeve would round out the spree with a basket apiece.

Litchfield started the second quarter with possession but the Carlinville defense picked up right where they left off and got a gift from the Panthers that turned into a deuce. 

The lead would balloon to 29-3 before Pence would shake loose for two, followed by a Becky Painter to Carson Jackson connection for another two. Carlinville would add free throws from Haley Wills and Jill Stayton while Jackson added the last two points of the half for Litchfield.

Trailing 31-9 at the half, Coach Rob Corso changed to a zone defense in the third quarter and the Panthers settled into a more productive rhythm both offensively and defensively. 

Senjan would draw first blood in the third quarter with a three that was repeated late in the quarter just before she picked up her fourth foul. Cara Pence began to position herself more comfortably in the paint and connected for four points while Maddie Diamond scored on a one timer. 

Carlinville had nine points in the period, four of which came at the charity stripe. Eryn Seal was the sole offense for Carlinville with a three-point basket and a layup as the Cavies maintained a 19-point lead. 

Litchfield again outscored their hosts 12-6 in final eight minutes, but the deficit was just too large to erase and the Cavaliers would capture their first conference win of the season. 

Senjan pumped in eight points in the effort and Pence hit from long range, while Becky Painter scored her only basket of the contest. Although senior Carly Boden did not score, she pulled down seven rebounds and was supported by Painter with six caroms. Baker, Reels and DeNeve combined for Carlinville's six fourth quarter points.

In the JV contest, the Lady Panthers defeated the JV Cavaliers 27 to 25.

December 12 at Carlinville

Carlinville 21 10 9 6 46

Litchfield 3 6 12 12 33

Carlinville (46) - Eryn Seal 10, Corin Stewart 9, Sarah DeNeve 8, Gracie Reels 7, Jill Stayton 5, Elise Baker 4, Haley Wills 3. Totals: 18 7-12 46.

Litchfield (33) - Emily Senjan 14, Cara Pence 11, Carson Jackson 4, Maddie Diamond 2, Becky Painter 2. Totals: 14 1-4 33.

Three point field goals: Carlinville 3 (Seal 2, Stewart 1); Litchfield 4 (Senjan 3, Pence 1).

Records: Litchfield (7-3, 1-1); Carlinville (7-2, 1-1).

Litchfield Girls Hang Tough With Marquette

Marquette came to town for a Saturday afternoon, Dec. 14 game at Litchfield and unlike their game at Carlinville Thursday night, the Lady Panthers zoned up against the Explorers and played even-steven for the first two quarters, before the visitors outscored their hosts 20-12 in the third period and held on for a 51-36 non-conference win, their ninth of the season. 

The Explorers two losses have come at the hands of Mater Dei and Jerseyville. Marquette's Adrenna Snipes led all scorers with 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half. The sophomore guard is one of four in Coach Lee Green's young starting lineup. As a freshman, she led the Explorers in points (17 per game), rebounds, assists, steals, blocked shots and was named the Alton Telegraph Small Schools Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

In Saturday's match-up, neither team could find the bottom of the net in the first three minutes of the first quarter but Cara Pence broke the drought and Marquette's spirited man-to-man defense for an inside basket that gave the Panthers a brief 2-0 lead. 

Marquette's first points came at the free-throw line from Abby Williams with 4:04 left. With 3:11 left, Carly Boden picked up her second foul, which sent Snipes to the line and she converted both. 

Marquette's next basket came off a Panther turnover and it was 6-2, but not for long as junior Maddie Diamond tied the score at six with back-to-back scores. Kiley Kircher answered with a basket in the paint before Becky Painter found Diamond down the lane for two. Abby Williams slipped the Panther defense for a layup but once again, Diamond responded with a putback off a Painter miss and the horn sounded with the score tied at 10-10.

The score was tied at 12 and 14 in the second quarter and with 1:56 left in the quarter, Megan Meyer would give Marquette a one point edge as she converted one of two charity tosses. Meyer would score again off an inbound pass following the purple and white's sixth team foul but Diamond's number was called again as she scored on a runner and it was 17-16, Marquette, at the half. Carson Jackson and freshman Laura Boston accounted for Litchfield's other four points.

Marquette's man-to-man defense kicked in high gear in the third quarter and it paid dividends as the Panthers turned the ball over and also found themselves in foul trouble as Emily Senjan picked up her third and fourth personal fouls and went to the bench at 4:33. 

Carly Boden would pick up her third foul also, but not before she had scored eight of the Panthers' 12 third quarter points to keep her team within striking distance with eight minutes left to play. Both Abby Williams and Snipes found the three ball in Marquette's 20-point quarter and the Explorers placed five players in the scoring column.

Marquette's miss from long range was rebounded by Cara Pence in the opening minute of the fourth and Litchfield had two good looks at the basket but neither would fall. 

Boden picked up her fourth personal foul, which sent Snipes to the line but she missed the front end of the one and one and Pence was fouled on the rebound. She too would make the first, but miss the second and the Marquette lead was eight. Senjan's basket cut the lead to six but Snipes countered. Senjan then found Boden for two and the Panther deficit was back to six at 39-33.

At 5:58 Coach Green called a timeout and the decision was made to spread the floor and force the Panthers out of their zone. Snipes extended the Explorer lead to eight at the free-throw line at 3:35 and on the next possession, Litchfield would turn it over and Snipes made it hurt with a basket that pushed the Marquette lead to 10 with 2:37 left in the game. 

Abby Williams and Snipes both beat the Panther defense for another four points and Senjan scored the Panthers' last points of the game on a three-pointer.

Maddie Diamond, who was 6-of-9 from the floor, finished as the scoring leader for Litchfield with 12 points. Boden had ten points and Senjan chipped in six. Litchfield grabbed 35 rebounds with Cara Pence pulling down 11 offensive and nine defensive caroms. Pence also had two picks, as did Carson Jackson.

Marquette defeated the junior Panthers 55-17 in the opener. The Panthers play host to Vandalia this evening, Dec. 16, before boarding the bus to Waverly on Thursday, Dec. 19,and playing hosts to Hillsboro on Saturday evening, Dec. 21. They will compete in the Carlinville Holiday Tournament beginning Dec. 26.

December 14 at Litchfield

Marquette 10 7 20 14 51

Litchfield 10 6 12 8 36

Marquette (51) - Adrenna Snipes 16, Abby Williams 11, Kiley Kirchner 6, Kamryn Fandrey 5, Megan Meyer 3, Hayley Porter 2, Carli Fosterling 2, Payton Patterson 2, Rae Ezell 2, Atira Merriweather 2. Totals: 19 11-19 51.

Litchfield (36) - Maddie Diamond 12, Carly Boden 10, Emily Senjan 6, Cara Pence 3, Carson Jackson 2, Laura Boston 2, Becky Painter 1. Totals: 16 3-6 36.

Three-point field goals: Marquette 2 (Williams 1, Snipes 1); Litchfield 1 (Senjan 1).

Records: Marquette (9-2); Litchfield (7-4).


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