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Sweet 16: Pana girls beat Marshall, 54-36 in Sectional semis

Historic 33rd win

for Panthers

Tom Latonis Breeze-Courier Writer (MONTICELLO) — The

Pana Panthers girls basketball team beat the Marshall Lions, 54-36, in the first semi-final game of the Monticello Class 2A Sectional Basketball Tournament on Tuesday night. An 18-point victory on the surface may look like an easy win, but this was a game where the Panthers “won ugly.”

“There was nothing easy about this game tonight,” Pana Girls Head Coach Brent McKinney said following the game. “Give them credit, they came out and hit 5 3’s in the first half. They played physical with us. We just took a little bit to get going. You need to be able to play in these types of games.”

Pana, now a Sweet 16 team in Class 2A, will face the Paris Tigers, a 39-33 winner over Teutopolis on Thursday night, Feb. 24, 2022, at 7:00 p.m.

It was a historic game for the Panthers as they ran their record to 33-1 on the season. This is the most wins for a girls basketball team since the program started in 1973. The 2002-03 Panthers, who finished runner-up in Class A basketball that year, finished the season with a 32-3 season.

In the first half, Pana had a hard time putting the ball into the hoop. At one point, they were under 20% in shooting from the floor. They went 0-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half while the Lions were 6-of-13. The Panthers found themselves in the strange position of trailing at the end of the first quarter, 13-10 and 22-22 at halftime. Pana didn’t get the lead in the ball game until the midway point of the third quarter. For the second half, Pana out- scored the Lions, 34-14.

In the fourth quarter, 15 of Pana’s 20 points came at the free throw line. After Anna Beyers had hit a clutch 3-pointer, Rachel Holthaus and Jillian Hamilton paraded to the free throw line 16 times with Holthaus going 8-for- 8 and Hamilton, 7-of-8. For the game, Pana went 18-of- 22, 82%.

Hamilton was held to 5 points in the first half, but scored 14 in the second half for a total of 19 to lead all scorers. She had 7 rebounds. Holthaus scored 14 with 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals. Beyers

finished the game with 12 points and 5 rebounds. Lainey Hicks had a great game on the boards with 7 rebounds, 4 of them off the offensive glass. She finished with 4 points as did Ellie Kuhn. Chloe Ashcraft scored on a free throw. Hamilton, Beyers and Holthaus played all 32 minutes of the game. Kai Engledow led Marshall with 12 points.

Pana dominated the glass, 33-18 with 14 offensive boards. Marshall picked up 15 defensive rebounds of their 18. Marshall got to the free throw line just 6 times and converted 3 of them.

In the second semi- final of the night, Kaitlyn Coombers scored 15

points for Paris and had 6 rebounds while Madyson Rigdon had 13 points and 5 boards. T-Town was led in scoring by Emily Konkel with 9.

Paris comes into Thursday’s contest with a 27-4 mark and a 3-game winning streak. They won the Little Illini Conference with a 7-0 record.

The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to the Elite 8 and the Vandalia Super-Sectional game on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. The opponent will be the winner of the Nashville Sectional which pits Carterville, a 35-25 winner over Nashville on Tuesday night, or Breese Mater Dei, who beat Benton, 43-30.

(MONTICELLO) — (Left) Jillian Hamilton of the Pana Panthers attempts a free throw during Tuesday night’s sectional semi- final against the Marshall Li- ons. Hamilton was only 1-of-2 at the line in the first half, but hit 8-of-9 in the fourth quarter to help lead Pana to a 54-36 win over the Lions and ad- vance to Thursday’s sectional final against Paris. In the back- ground is Rachel Holthaus, number 13, who also stepped it up at the free throw line, as she went 8-of-8 at the stripe. Anna Beyers, number 3 in the foreground, was 2-of-3 from 3-point range. All 3 girls played all 32 minutes of the contest.

(Cathy Jones Photo)

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