Lady Panthers pick up important conference wins

Durk looks for an open teammateThe second half of the season got underway quickly for the O’Fallon High Panthers basketball teams last week.

Most recently the Lady Panthers used a balanced offensive effort to take down the Granite City Warriors 46-31 on Monday night. Both teams struggled to find their offense early in the first quarter, combining for only seven points in the opening five minutes of play. Junior Emily Hopkins drilled a 3-pointer to give the Panthers a 7-3 lead and break open the scoring. The Panther defense went to work for the remainder of the half and held the Warriors to just nine points after the first two quarters.

Granite City started to find their stride in the second half but O’Fallon was able to hold on for a 46-31 win. After adding eight points in the third quarter, Granite City began to find some holes in the Panther defense and found themselves 14 points in the final quarter.

Despite the conference win, Coach Massey felt there were too many mistakes in Monday night’s game.

“We are happy to get an important conference win, but we definitely could have been better,” said Massey. “Defensively we weren’t pretty in the second half and we gave up far too many turnovers on offense. I think we had a lack of focus and we will need to work on it.”

Last week the Lady Panthers picked up a huge conference win over the talented Belleville West team but, lost later in the week to Edwardsville.

Senior Becca Althoff and junior Marta Durk took charge of the O’Fallon offense and combined for 31 points against West.  Durk also had four assists on the night and junior Celeste Akoro contributed with four assists, four blocks, and four points.

“The girls played really well for about twenty-three minutes against West,” said Massey. “Overall it was a good game and we made enough points down the stretch to close it out. It was a big win for us.”

The Lady Panthers were not able to mirror their performance against West later in the week when they took on Edwardsville. After giving up 17 unanswered points against the Tigers, O’Fallon slowly crawled their way back into the game. O’Fallon outscored Edwardsville in the second and fourth quarters but were unable to close the 13 point gap. Durk had a big night with 13 points against the Tigers in the 59-41 loss.

“We came out too anxious and forced way too many of our offensive opportunities. It was great to see how well we played later in the game against a formidable team like Edwardsville,” said Massey.

This week the team will travel to take on East St. Louis on Thursday, and on Saturday will compete in a week long tournament at Highland High School. The Highland Optimist Varsity Tournament will be a stacked competition.  Tip off for the Panthers’ first game is at 11:30 am Saturday against Mater Dei high school.

The boys’ team also had a busy week last week with two tough games against Belleville West and Edwardsville. The team was unable to find a win in either competition but battled hard in both games.

Senior Chance Armstrong topped the Panther offense with 12 points against West and 9 points against Edwardsville.

The boys’ record now sits at 2-11 and this weekend they will compete in a tournament in Kirkwood starting on Friday.