Lady Panthers sweep Arrows on season

The interior play from Haley Gambell and Kerrigan Pope played a big role in Pekin's 41-26 win over the Lady Arrows on January 4. The two combined for 22 points and eight rebounds.

The Lady Panthers started the season by traveling to face Wapello and came back with a 49-37 win, then followed that up by winning six of their next eight games. That win on the road also put more emphasis on their rematch January 4 at Pekin, with the Lady Arrows hoping to avoid being swept. Both teams were held to their fewest points scored in a game this season, but the Lady Panthers did enough to claim a 41-26 win to start 2019.

From the beginning it looked like Wapello knew what they were up against and their goal was to keep the ball in the Lady Panthers hands as little as possible. They managed to achieve that and then some in the first half, but their offense couldn’t convert. The Lady Panthers defense played tight and they were also aided by some mistakes by the Arrows, which allowed for some transition points. After a slow and at times sloppy quarter of play, the Lady Panthers led 9-1.

That continued in the second quarter, but the Arrows showed some life early by scoring five quick points to close the gap and give their fans some life. Pekin took control from there and used their physical post play with Haley Gambell and Kerrigan Pope making the biggest difference. Pekin only put up eight points in the quarter, compared to seven for Wapello, but still led 17-8 going into the half.

The defense continued to be the focal point for the Lady Panthers in the second half, holding Wapello to just five more points in the third quarter. A couple fast break chances extended Pekin’s lead and the strategy remained on offense to work the ball down low. After putting up 11 points in the third, Pekin extended their lead 28-13.

Both teams finished off with their best quarter of the night as Pekin began to hit some open threes and Wapello found the basket and got to the foul line. Pekin and Wapello tied in the fourth 13-13, resulting in a 41-26 win for the Lady Panthers.

Gambell and Pope combined for 22 points on 10-14 shooting to go with eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals. Emilee Linder continued to be a factor from behind the arc by hitting three of her eight attempts for nine points and had two steals. Zoey Wright and Sophie Wittrock did a little bit of everything by combining for eight assists, six points, five steals and one rebound.

The Lady Panthers hosted Winfield Mt. Union on January 8 and will host Columbus Junction on January 11 before heading to Sigourney in a highly-anticipated matchup on January 12.