The Eastbrook Panthers have been on a roll since the midway point of December, having won five games in a row, and a Grant Four championship, heading into their matchup with Wes-Del.
On Friday, the Panthers increased their winning streak to six games, dominating the Warriors from start to finish in a 73-14 rout.
Despite the competition they were facing, Head Coach Jeff Liddick encouraged his team to play as if it were a championship environment, focusing on execution on both ends of the floor rather than on the scoreboard or their opponent.
And the Panthers did just that.
Eastbrook controlled the contest from the opening tip, leading 21-2 after the first quarter and increasing that lead to 40-6 at the halftime break. Their strong start carried them throughout the contest and helped them secure their 10th victory of the season.
Along with scoring 73 points, their second-most in a game this season, the Panthers excelled in all facets of the game. Their 14 points allowed tied a season-low, and their passing was crisp and efficient throughout the evening.
“We focused on a lot of team stuff tonight,” Liddick said. “One of the big things tonight, and we’ve been working on it in practice this week, was making the extra pass. The girls did an amazing job tonight. This may have been one of the best nights we’ve ever passed the basketball. We had some beautiful passes by Rachel Manning and Gabby Scott and Lexi [Binkerd,] just doing a great job of sharing the basketball pretty much the entire game.”
Furthermore, Liddick was proud of how his group played at a high level throughout the evening, never becoming complacent no matter how much their lead grew.
“When you play the game, you want to play it the right way regardless,” Liddick said. “Winning is fun, but playing the game the right way, that’s what it’s all about. I was just so proud of the girls to go into tonight’s game and just focus on playing hard, focus on executing, and focus on playing good team basketball. We did that for 32 minutes.”
Sehdah McKim finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Sophia Morrison also scored 16 points. Johwen McKim scored 12 points, Lily McLaughlin finished with eight, and both Olivia Howell and Rachel Manning added six.
Eastbrook is hoping to add another game this upcoming week with the postponement of their contest with Wabash, but as of now, Liddick and the Panthers will be gearing up for a rematch with Oak Hill this coming weekend.
“The girls know that Oak Hill is well-coached,” Liddick said. “They know that they play hard. They know that they are scrappy. And they know if they don’t come out ready to play, then there is a good possibility they won’t win that basketball game. I’m confident that our girls will come in Monday ready to get better and to prepare for a conference game.”