Dan Eyrich, AP Sports
The EP Lady Panthers took on the host Princeton Tigers in the final game of the Princeton Holiday Basketball Invitational on Saturday night. The Panthers entered the contest 2-1 with the Tigers sporting a 3-0 mark.
Struggling offensively for the second game in a row the Panthers quickly found themselves down 7-0 at the 6:30 mark of the first quarter. Kennedy Buck finally got the Panthers on the board converting a three-point play following a Panther timeout to make it a 7-3 contest with three minutes to go in the first quarter. That started a run by the Panthers with a free-throw by Sidney Schwartz making it a one-point game with 2:10 remaining. The Tigers answered with a pair of free throws in the final minute to make it an 11-8 game at the end of one.
Neither team shot the ball well the first frame with the Tigers employing a 2-3 zone defense and the Panthers countering with a tough man-to-man. After a free-throw by Schwartz cut the deficit to two in the first minute of the second quarter Princeton went on a run. Scoring the next 10 points, which included a three-ball and a three-point play with1:53 remaining in the half. Olivia Purvis finally got the Panthers first bucket of the quarter hitting a three to make it a 21-12 game. Princeton added a free-throw in the final seconds to make it a 22-12 game at halftime.
The Panthers continued to struggle with the zone in the second half as the Tigers built their lead scoring the first 7 points of the quarter. The Panthers did not get on the board until a free-throw from Lauren Abbott with 1:10 remaining to make it 32-16. The sophomore got a put back at the buzzer to make it 33-20 after three.
A free-throw by Olivia Purvis cut the Tigers lead to 10 with 4:28 left in the game. A nice inbounds play under the Panther’s bucket was converted by Hannah Huisman to cut the lead to nine with 2:38 remaining but that was as close as the Panthers would get with the Tigers taking the tournament championship trophy by a score of 43-30.
Coach Chris Brown said, “Tough turnaround to play a tough team. We are still competing and not quitting. Having to learn on the fly with tournament play, is not easy, which is good for us.”
Kennedy Buck had 10 points to lead EP with Schwartz adding 7. The pair also earned all-tournament honors.
The F/S Lady Panthers defeated Putnam County 42-11 on Saturday to earn 3rd place on their side of the tournament going 3-1.
Both teams will return to action on Tuesday when they host Monmouth United at Erie before taking a holiday break.