Strong free-throw shooting in the final quarter lifted Class 3A No. 8 Western to a 44-33 victory at Frankfton Saturday night in Case Arena. The Panthers took a 26-20 lead into the fourth quarter, then sank 14 of 16 freebies in the final frame to keep the home team at bay.
”It wasn’t really the prettiest win for the Lady Panthers, but it was a W on the road at Frankfort,” Western coach Chris Keisling said. “We hit 2 of 16 from 3-point range, so that’s not going to be helpful. I thought Frankfort did a nice job defensively on us. Basically our free-throw shooting down the stretch got the job done.”
Caitlyn O’Neal led the Panthers (2-0) with a game-high 13 points. Carley O’Neal added 10 and was 8-of-8 from the line in the fourth. Raven Black added eight points.
”I thought our bench came in and did a solid job as well. Kaysie Mulkey and Hayley Mills and did a really nice job for us,” Keisling said. “Obviously, Caitlyn and Carley, although they didn’t shoot well outside, they stepped up on the free-throw line and did the job there. Big, big free-throw shooting by the whole group.”
SHERIDAN 48, EASTERN 22
The Comets opened the season with a shaky shooting performance hitting on 8 of 45 field goal attempts, helping the Blackhawks (3-0) pull away late by outscoring Eastern 18-3 in the fourth quarter.
“I think we were pretty jittery,” Eastern coach Justin Coomer said. “We got in foul trouble early, and they did a nice job on us defensively. We had good looks but just couldn’t hit any. We had a stretch late in the third quarter where we missed five or six layups, and I felt like that was a big turning point in the game.”
Amanda Summe led the Blackhawks with 22 points, connecting on three 3-pointers. Sheridan took a 19-10 lead into intermission after Eastern held a slim advantage, 6-4, through the first quarter.
Jessie Sprinkles led Eastern with eight points, while Abby Oyler and Kelsey Richards both added four points.
CARROLL 49, NW 35
The Cougars got a game-high 19 points from Carly Kingery, mixed in a dozen from Libby Eller, eight from Macy Willoughby, and six from Makayla Jackson to establish an early lead and fend off Northwestern. Carroll led 29-12 at halftime and went on to win its opener.
”This was a very physical game,” NW coach Kathie Layden said. Her squad dropped its opener to Kokomo Friday night. “Obviously for us, two games in two days, we struggled at times to take care of the ball again so we’re going to work on that.
”Turnovers were an issue again [29 total] and we got ourselves into foul trouble early. Carroll’s a very solid team that’s going to win a lot of games this year.”
Sydney Zeck led Northwestern (0-2) with 11 points, Kelsey Richards had 10 and Brooke Treadway added seven.