The EP Panther basketball team switched to Geneseo for their season opening tournament but fell to Kewanee 51-44 in a hard fought defensive battle. The Panthers had travelled to Orion for many years but chose some different competition this year.
Both teams played zone defenses during the contest- another change for a Panther squad that has traditionally been known for their stingy man to man. The strategy worked well for most of the contest as both teams struggled with their outside shooting.
Michael Collins got the first basket of the season on a layup after a nice assist from Jack Minssen to put EP ahead 2-0. The first quarter ended 8-8. A Noah Wiseley layup at the 4:50 mark of the second gave the Panthers their biggest lead of the night 17-12. The Boilermakers scored the next 6 points and ended the first half up 25-21.
A nice assist from Wiseley to Collins and a bucket by Wiseley were the first points of the second half and knotted the score at 25 each 3 minutes into the second half. Later in the quarter though Kewanee warmed up and two 3-pointers put them up 37-31 at the end of three quarters.
An inbound lob pass from Bryce Jepson to Wiseley got the Panthers within 3 at 47-44 with 1:20 left but successful free throws by Kewanee down the stretch closed out the contest.
The inside presence of Collins and Wiseley was dominant during the game and those two were the only Panthers in double digits with 18 and 14 respectively.
The sophomore Panthers also fell to Kewanee 39-20 in their opener. Both teams return to action Friday against Rock Falls. Sophomores at 9AM followed by the varsity at 10:30AM in Geneseo.