Lady Panthers fall in first conference game of season to Belleville East


basketballO’FALLON – The O’Fallon Lady Panthers dropped their first conference game of the season Wednesday night in an overtime thriller against Belleville East, 70-65.

“The game was won by Belleville East in the last four minutes of the first half, and the first four minutes of the second half,” said Head Coach Ryan Massey.

Each team had chances to put their opponent away, but neither would allow that to happen. There were many lead changes throughout the game, but it was senior Marta Durk who hit the game-tying three point shot to tie it up in the final seconds of the fourth quarter.

“We actually had a chance to win the game after Marta tied it up. East turned the ball over on the inbounds to give us a chance to score. We ended up taking a three at the top of the key, but it was blocked,” said Coach Massey.

The Panthers had a total of 26 turnovers for the game, and were outplayed on the boards, getting out-rebounded by 15.

“We had poor situational awareness and game management skills. We did not understand the difference between an average and great shot,” said Coach Massey.

The Blue and Gold had three scorers in the double digits. Marta Durk had 22 points, Jayla Stubblefield had 16, and Tamia Cash had 13.

Jayla Stubblefield came up with three fourth quarter steals, and six points to help give her team a chance to win it. “Jayla is a very quick, and athletic girl on her feet. Whenever she is competing at the top of her level, it is very fun to watch,” said Coach Massey.

When asked about the girls’ effort in the game, Coach Massey said, “I felt very pleased with the how the girls played. Their effort was contagious, and great to see. We just need to slow some things down, and not try to force things.”

“The overtime experience will be very valuable for us later in the season,” said Ryan Massey.