Devils Trounce the Panthers

Senior Blue Devil Jenna Hunter (#23) drives to the basket. –Photo by JIm Piacentini.

Senior Blue Devil Jenna Hunter (#23) drives to the basket. –Photo by JIm Piacentini.

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By Dennis Bowling

The usually composed Manteno Panthers had the tall order of trying to slay the giant Class 2A power Peotone, but the Panthers became unraveled. They made 25 first half turnovers, which led to their demise on January 19.

The Blue Devils junior Madison Schroeder, a 5’-11” guard and two-sport standout, registered a team high 10 points, as well as six rebounds, to help Peotone beat Manteno, 49-18, in an Illinois Central Eight Conference rival contest in Peotone.

With the win, Peotone is still perfect at 19-0 overall, 9-0 and in first place in the conference, and has won 27 conference games in a row.

Panther Coach Bethany Stritar summarized just what happened against the Blue Devils. “We did not get enough shots at the basket,” she said. “Their trapping pressure defense hurt us, although we were able to settle down at half time. We just could not find the opportunity to score a basket.”

At the close of the first quarter, the Blue Devils owned a 15-6 lead thanks to Mady Kibelkis’ jump shot basket.

In the second quarter, the Blue Devils offense went into high gear and were able to outscore the Panthers by a 15-2 count, which enabled them to own a 30-8 half time advantage.

In the second, Peotone’s Jenna Hunter (8 points, 12 rebounds) made consecutive buckets for a 19-6 lead. A Schroeder jump shot basket increased the lead to 21-6. Kibelkis was fouled attempting to make a trey basket, then made one-of-three free throws for a 22-8 lead.

Abigail Chenoweth’s bucket made it 24-8. While Hunter was double teamed, she was able to successfully make a bucket to push the Peotone advantage to 26-8. Schroeder’s pair of free throws followed and pushed the margin to 28-8. Addie Graffeo’s (9 points) basket closed out the stanza with a 30-8 Peotone lead.

“We have been working on our pressure defense,” Hunter said. “We were able to put pressure on the ball, and that made us play better.”

“Manteno was just playing nervous,” she continued, “and that made us confident.”

Kibelkis feels Manteno is a rival, but the bigger ones are against ICE rivals Herscher and Beecher. “They are big rivalries, and we were very confident against them,” she said. “They had butter fingers and weren’t able to handle the ball.”

“Jenna played very well,” she noted. “She did a good job of finishing around the basket and had some good moves, too.”

For the Panthers, Macy Iwanus had 2 points and 3 rebounds, Kylie Saathoff finished with 2 points and 6 rebounds, Katherine Gaffney recorded 2 points and 4 rebounds, and Sara Schmidt finished with 3 points and 4 rebounds. Ava Peterson also added 2 points and 3 rebounds.

In the junior varsity game, Manteno beat Peotone, 26-20. Manteno’s Emily Horath had 7 points, while Lila Prindeville and Ava Peterson each finished with 5. Peotone’s Alyssa Lattz and Emma Orzel each also had 5 points, with Mallory Schroeder adding 4 for the Blue Devils.

Panthers Ava Peterson goes after the Blue Devils. –Photo by Jim Piacentini.


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