Panthers keep up intensity and focus, win second straight game

In the Eastbrook Panthers’ last contest, a 62-14 win over Wes-Del, they came out and played with intensity from start to finish, which helped they come away with a resounding triumph.

On Tuesday night, the Panthers followed that same gameplan against the Wabash Apaches, and it worked to perfection, as they came away with a 48-45 victory.

Eastbrook found their footing early, using their strong defensive pressure to take a 14-9 lead after one quarter of play.

“I thought we came out with great intensity tonight,” Eastbrook Head Coach Jeff Liddick said. “We started off in our full court press and we were able to turn them over and get some easy buckets.”

However, foul trouble in the second quarter forced the Panthers out of their press, and the Apaches took advantage, outscoring Eastbrook 11-5 to take a 20-19 lead at halftime.

The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair, with the Apaches taking a slim two-point lead into the final frame, but the Panthers took control in the final eight minutes to emerge victorious.

“I challenged them in the fourth quarter,” Liddick said. “I called a timeout with about four minutes to go, and just told them, ‘you guys know how to play the game [and] you know how take to care of the basketball. Go out, work the basketball, use the clock, and get some good looks at the bucket.’ We outscored them 17-12 to pull out the win.”

With the regular season winding down, and with sectional basketball just around the corner, Liddick believes his team is beginning to come together at the right time.

“A big moment for me tonight was in that fourth quarter, [I] called a timeout, drew up a play we had never ran before, and the girls went out, set it up, [and] executed it to perfection,” Liddick said. “We got a wide open look at the three, and Kylie [Standfest] knocked the shot down and it put us ahead by three points at that point. It’s been a struggle for us to be able to be focused in a timeout and to pay attention to a play being drawn up and go out and execute it. They did that tonight.

“We’re turning a corner. We are not where we want to be yet by any means, but they are definitely starting to figure out what it takes to be a good basketball team and a team that has a basketball IQ. We’re getting there, and we still have five regular season games to build on that heading into the tournament.”

Standfest led the Panthers in scoring with 20 points, while Sarah Foulk and Josalyn Martinez each finished with 12. Standfest and Martinez combined to shoot nine-for-18 from the perimeter, and as a team, the Panthers shot 41 percent from beyond the arc.

Foulk and Standfest each came away with five rebounds, while Zoie Ratliff was an excellent facilitator of the basketball all evening long, finishing with six assists.

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