Panthers can’t track down Wildcats

HOLTON — In chase mode from the opening possession, the Concordia Panthers were unable to track down the Holton Wildcats.
Hayley Thompson made a layup off the opening tip, and Holton bolted to a 9-0 lead on Concordia.
Holton would go up by as many as 12 points early.
Concordia closed the gap to two points in the second period, fell behind by 12 in the third, got as close as five points in the fourth before falling as the Wildcats pulled away to a 59-46 victory on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers, now 8-5, who had not played for more than two weeks because bad weather had forced two games to be postponed, got off to a shaky start.
Holton converted three early Concordia turnovers into layups in getting out to the 9-0 lead.
Tristen Leiszler got the Panthers on the board by knocking down a three-point shot.
Holton answered with consecutive threes by Kyrstie Miller  to make it a 15-3 game.
The Wildcats were six of six from the field to start the game.
“If we would have come out of the gates in both halves a little stronger, we would have been okay,” Concordia coach Michael Wahlmeier said.
Concordia, playing without second leading scorer Megan James, started to chip away at the Holton lead.
Four straight points by reserve Jennifer Boley and another three by Leiszler got the Panthers within five points, 15-10.
Miller knocked down her third three to put Holton up 18-10.
“We knew she (Miller) could shoot. When we went to zone we didn’t do as good a job of recognizing where their shooters were,” Wahlmeier said.
A free throw by Maggie Lambert left Concordia trailing 18-11 heading into the second quarter.
Lambert hit from 15 feet and Leiszler buried a three early in the second period, and the Panthers were down just 18-16.
Leiszler finished with 24 points. She was 9 of 21 from the field.
“I thought Tristen really stepped up in Megan’s absence, and that is what we expected,” Wahlmeier said.
Holton put together a 10-3 spurt to grab a 28-19 advantage.
Lambert went one of two from the free throw line and Leiszler made a layup in the final seconds of the half to make it a 28-22 game.
Concordia committed four quick turnovers to start the third quarter, and the Wildcats pushed the lead to 32-22 before Leiszler hit a three.
“Turnovers were a killer. We outrebounded them, and usually that is good for a victory, but we turned it over too many times,” Wahlmeier said.
The Panthers finished with 21 turnovers.
Holton had a 42-34 cushion heading into the final period.
Led by freshman Jordan Eshbaugh, the Panthers clawed back.
A three-point play by Eshbaugh, who scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter, got Concordia within five points, 45-40, with 2:55 to play.
Holton beat pressure, and Ashlyn Weilert made a layup to make it 47-40.
After Lambert hit one of two free throws, the Wildcats knocked down five of six from the line to open up a 51-41 cushion with under two minutes to play.
Eshbaugh made two free throws, but Holton locked up the win by scoring eight points in just over a minute.
Concordia finished with 15 offensive rebounds, but were unable to turn enough of those into points.
Eshbaugh pulled 10 rebounds in the game, five offensive.
Molly Adams had nine boards, five offensive.
Miller pumped in 25 points for Holton.
Concordia will host Riley County on Tuesday night.

CONCORDIA (46)
Gumm 0-0-4 0, Lambert 0-0-4 0, Collins 0-0-1 0, Eshbaugh 3-4-3 10, Adams 0-1-3 1, Boley 2-2-1 6, Leiszler 9-0-3 26. Totals: 15-10-19 46.
HOLTON (59)
T. Weilert 2-0-0 4, R. Weilert 4-0-2 8, Manigal 0-0-1 0, Snepp 0-0-2 0, Holaday 0-5-1 5, Moore 3-2-3 8, Degenhardt 0-0-2 0, Miller 8-5-3 25, Thompson 4-1-5 9. Totals: 21-13-19 59.

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