Panthers use big first half to sink Irish

 CHAPMAN — Playing well enough in the first half to overcome a shaky second half, the Concordia Panthers defeated the Chapman Irish 49-34 in a North Central Kansas League matchup Friday night.
With junior Tristen Leiszler scoring 17 points, the Panthers built a 34-14 halftime lead on Chapman.
Concordia committed 15 turnovers, and scored just 15 points over the final two quarters.
Chapman, despite the offensive struggles by the Panthers, was never able to draw any closer than 13 points.
“We didn’t come out with quite the same energy in the second half,” Concordia coach Michael Wahlmeier said, “I think they decided they would play as aggressive as they could and see what they could get away with. For the most part I think we handled that pretty well. We need to take care of the ball a little better.”
Defeating Chapman for the second time this year, the Panthers improve to 9-6 overall and 4-3 in league play.
“Just being able to compete in our league is a stepping stone for us, and shows the improvement we have been making,” Wahlmeier said.
Chapman falls to 4-12 overall and 0-7 in the NCKL.
A three-point shot by Leiszler and a follow by Molly Adams gave Concordia a 5-0 lead in the first 1:30 of the game.
The Panthers would not trail.
Concordia led just 9-6 when Leiszler drained another three, Jordan Eshbaugh scored inside and Megan James made a layup with time running out in the first quarter to make it a 16-6 game.
The Panthers opened the second period with a 14-1 spurt to open up a 30-7 advantage.
Leiszler scored seven of those points. She finished with 19 points, hitting 6 of 11 field goal attempts and all four free throws.
“It definitely helps when she gets going right away like that. It opens up everybody else,” Wahlmeier said.
Chapman did not score from the field in the second stanza until Lindsey Hurford completed a three-point play that made it 30-10 with 2:00 on the clock.
Concordia did not have a field goal over the final five minutes of the first half, but made 8 of 10 free throws, and led 34-14.
“I thought we came out with a lot of intensity, and moved the ball well. Were were running the floor well,” Wahlmeier said.
A basket by Jennifer Boley would put the Panthers on top 36-14 early in the third quarter.
Taking advantage of nine Concordia turnovers, the Irish used an 11-5 run to close the gap to 41-26 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
The Panthers added just eight points in the fourth quarter, but Chapman could get no closer than 47-34.
James scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds for Concordia.
Eshbaugh added seven points and six boards.
Hurford paced Chapman with 11 points.
Macey Langvardt scored all nine of her points from the free throw line.
Concordia hosts Phillipsburg on Tuesday night.

Gumm 0-0-1 0, Lambert 1-0-2 2, Beaumont 0-0-2 0, Eshbaugh 2-3-3 7, Adams 1-0-3 2, Boley 2-1-1 5, Leiszler 6-4-1 19, James 4-6-2 14. Totals: 16-14-15 49.
Lovett 0-0-2 0, Hurford 4-1-2 11, Sutter 3-0-2 7, Beemer 2-0-3 4, Weis 1-0-1 2, Langvardt 0-9-4 9, Anderson 0-1-2 1, Heiman 0-0-3 0. Totals: 10-11-19 34.


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