After a regular season marked by ups and downs, the Eastbrook Panthers head into sectional play on a high note, defeating a very much improved Blackford squad by a score of 42-36.
Eastbrook’s defense kept the game close in the first two quarters, as the Bruins took a three-point lead at halftime on a buzzer beating three-pointer.
But in the second half, the Panthers came out refocused and refreshed, their offense began to find its rhythm, and their continued stout defensive helped them pull away from Blackford in the final two quarters.
“It all boiled down to the things we’ve been talking about all year that we’ve been struggling with,” Eastbrook Head Coach Jeff Liddick said. “We went into halftime down three, [but] we were doing all the right things on the defensive end. I just challenged the girls and said, ‘Put together a second half like you did the other night against South Adams, and I promise you you’ll win this game.”
“We came out in the second half and outscored them 31-22, and it just came down to taking care of the basketball, getting stops on the defensive end, and then being patient on the offensive end and putting the ball in the basket,” Liddick said. “We shot close to 43 percent in the second half…and we were nine-of-11 from the free throw line. The girls did a great job…of finishing it and getting a solid conference win.”
Eastbrook now shifts their attention to Madison-Grant, whom they will face off against for the third time this season in their sectional opener.
“It’ll be tough,” Liddick said. “They are playing extremely good basketball right now. They are going to be hungry to avenge a couple of losses. It’s tough to beat a team three times in a season. Coach Bradley will have them very prepared, and his girls will want some redemption. With the way Azmae and [Gracey] Fox and [Daya] Greene are playing right now, it’s going to be a big challenge for us.
“We are going to have to build on what we did tonight.”
Johwen McKim led the Panthers with nine points and four assists, while Kristen Goff and Sedah McKim each finished with eight.