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Panthers open up O’Fallon Shootout with win over Peoria-Richwoods

Martin Enriquez looks for an open teammateThe boys of the Panther basketball team kicked off the Bank of O’Fallon Shootout on Saturday with a convincing 44-33 win over the Peoria-Richwoods Knights.

O’Fallon took the lead early in the first quarter against the Knights and held on to it through all four quarters of play.  The Panthers had one of their finest defensive efforts all season against Richwoods, containing the Knights to just ten points in the first half.

Senior Chance Armstrong had another impressive game for the Panthers and earned the MVP of the game award. Armstrong led the Panthers with 12 points, two assists, and seven rebounds.

The Panther victory was the second game of back to back nights for O’Fallon. On Friday night coach Gibson and the Panthers hosted the Belleville West Maroons in their second meeting of the season.

Unable to keep their four game winning streak alive, O’Fallon was ousted by the Maroons in a 59-45 finish. The two teams were neck and neck during the first half and were nearly all tied up 29-28 after two quarters.

O’Fallon struggled to score in the final few minutes of the third quarter and allowed a pair of missed shots and a handful of turnovers to create all the difference.  Belleville West capitalized and increased their lead to seven in the third and would remain in the lead for the remainder of the game.

Junior Ryan Fulton, sophomore Jalen Hodge, and Armstrong each put up 11 points against West and lead the team in scoring. 

Boy shoots during the Chic-Fil A Halftime Event
Boy shoots during the Chic-Fil A Halftime Event

Despite their loss on Friday night, Coach Gibson was happy to turn around and play again early on Saturday morning.

“When you lose you are ready to play again right away and get the bad taste of the loss out of your mouth,” said Gibson. “Instead of having to wait around a week we got to play again right away. The guys responded and played pretty well. It was great to get a win at the Shootout and kick things off for the event.”

This week the Panthers will utilize some down time to prepare for a busy end of the season schedule. On Friday the team travels to Belleville East to compete in their lone game of the week. Earlier in the season O’Fallon was defeated by East 54-37.

“We’re down to our last five regular season games here and it’s kind of our last break with several practices before a game,” said Gibson. “Hopefully we can fit some more stuff in that we want to work on and prepare for a really good East team at their place.”