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Pana Panthers crush Sages, 81-53 to advance

Tom Latonis Breeze-Courier Writer (ARTHUR) — The post season

began in stellar fashion for the Pana Panthers girls basketball team on Monday night in the semi-finals of the Arthur Class 2A Regional Tournament.

Their pressure defense and excellent bench play propelled the Panthers to an 81-53 win over the Monticello Sages.

Pana’s defense forced the Sages into 19 turnovers in the contest.

The Panthers had five players score in double figures, led by Jillian Hamilton with 14. She recorded a double-double with 12 rebounds. Junior Chloe Ashcraft came in off the bench to provide a spark for Pana with 13 points and Ellie Kuhn and Ayda Alde putting in 11 apiece. Rachel Holthaus put in 10 points.

The bench played an important part in the game because Hamilton went to the bench after being shoved to the floor and striking the back of her head at the five-minute mark of the first quarter. She remained int he game for about another minute before she went to the bench for attention. Hamilton returned later in the first half and went 4-for-4 from the free throw line and scored a basket in the third quarter.

The offense got a boost off the bench from the junior pair of Alde and Ashcraft. Alde had three first half 3-pointers, including a buzzer-beater at the end of the half. Ashcraft got a 3, 2 conventional field goals and a pair of free throws before the half ended and Pana had a 43-28 lead.

In the third period, the Sages got as close as 20 points, 51-

31, before the Panthers went on a 8-0 run to make it 59-31, with 4:12 to play in the third. Kuhn sparked the run with 2 baskets; Anna Beyers scored and Hamilton had a pair of charities. Ashcraft ended the quarter with a pair of free throws with no time left on the clock, giving Pana a 70-37 going into the final 8 minutes. In the frame, the Panthers’ defense forced 7 turnovers and allowed the Sages just 9 points.

Lainey Hicks scored 9 points in the game and had 6 rebounds. Anna Beyers scored 8 points and Kiley Ladage rounded out the Pana scoring with 5 points.

Monticello’s Lizzie Stiverson lead all scorers with 20 points. She had 6 rebounds and Renni Fultz had 15 points with 6 rebounds as well.

In rebounding, Pana owned the glass with a 30-21 advantage. The Panthers shot 59% from the floor, going 29- of-49. The Sages were at 51%, making 21-of-41. While the Sages had 19 turnovers, the Panthers only committed 9.

Pana, ranked third in the late Class 2A girls poll, is 30-1 on the season, 2 wins shy of tying the school record for wins. They will face Tolono Unity on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. for the championship of the Arthur Regional. Tolono was a 45- 31 winner over host school

Arthur-Lovington/Atwood Hammond.

The regional winner goes to the Monticello Sectional to face the winner of the Marshall Regional on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 6:00 p.m.

(ARTHUR) — Pana’s Kiley Kuhn, number 25 of the Panthers, fights her way toward the basket against Monticello’s Lydia Burger, number 45, during Pana’s 81-53 win over the Sages on Monday night in the Arthur Regional semi-finals. Kuhn had 13 points for the Panthers.

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