In mid-December the Lady Panthers played Morrison and were demolished by the Fillies 53-19 with a running clock started in the final quarter. Filly senior stand out, 6’3″ Shelby Veltrop had 22 that night as EP had no answer for her inside game.
Fast forward five weeks and a much improved EP squad gave the Fillies all they could handle finally falling 40-28 on Senior Night in Prophetstown. The Panthers held Shelby Veltrop to just 12 points and actually took a short lived lead at the start of the second half over the now 19-7 Fillies.
EP coach Chris Brown said, “We executed the game plan very well that we had been working on the last couple of days. I thought the girls played tough tonight.” The Panthers employed a full-time double team on Veltrop making it very difficult for the Fillies to get the ball inside and daring Morrison to score from the outside. The plan worked very well in the first half as Veltrop was held to just 3 points.
The Panthers started their four seniors, Liz Hinton, Taylor Wilson, McKenzie Winckler, and Brianna Neumiller. The players were honored before the game and held their own against the visitors trailing 4-2 through the first 2 1/2 minutes before they were replaced by the regular starting five.
A three-point bucket by Kennedy Buck made it 6-5 Morrison with ninety seconds left in the quarter. One more bucket by the Fillies made it an 8-5 game after one.
A nice drive by EP’s Olivia Purvis made it a 13-9 contest with just over a minute left in the half. A final flurry of buckets in the last minute made it a 17-15 Filly lead at the half.
The Panther’s Sydney Schwartz hit a three to start the second half to give the Panthers an 18-17 lead but that would only last for one possession as Morrison’s Diana Robbins responded with a three of her own to put he Fillies back in front for the rest of the night. She led the Fillies with 19.
A lack of offense in the third quarter, which has been an issue for the Panthers most of the season, once again put EP in a hole as they were only able to add two more points the rest of the frame to trail by 14 after three. Veltrop found her offensive game in the quarter as she hit for 8 of her 12 points on the night.
A three-ball by Purvis to open the fourth quarter made it an 11 point game but EP would get no closer than 10 the rest of the way.
“We were down two at half and if we get a few more shots to roll in and take care of the ball a little better especially in the 3rd quarter, I think maybe the game goes either way,” said Brown.
Buck led the scoring for the Panthers with 13 as Purvis and McKenzie Winckler each added 5.
“Even though we lost tonight I thought we got better against a very good team that has been a tough matchup for us in our previous meetings,” said Brown. “I think this will be boost for our confidence as we head down the home stretch for Regional.”
The Panthers are 10-13 and 3-6 in the TRAC West. They will host league leading Sherrard on Monday.
The F/S squad got the win 41-29 in their game.