Breslins, defense lead Lady Panthers into Regional championship game

Sarah Breslin led the Lady Panthers with 16 points vs. Red Bud. (Doug Daniels Photos)

By Doug Daniels /

February 8, 2018

  (Pinckneyville, Ill.) - Pinckneyville's defense improved as the game went on and the Lady Panthers advanced to the championship game of their own Class 2A Regional with a 39-31 win over Red Bud on Wednesday, with Sarah and Megan Breslin scoring in double digits to lead the offense.
  PCHS overcame a 14-9 first quarter by the Lady Musketeers to close to within a point at halftime, then took the lead in the third quarter and never gave it back. 
  "It's good on a night where we don't play very well - we missed a lot of bunnies, missed a lot of open shots - to find a way to win," said Pinckneyville head coach Alan Engelhardt. "All year, it's kind of been our defense. I didn't feel like we defended very well early on, we were giving them way too much ground, letting them handle against us. As the game wore on, I thought we did a much better job with ball pressure and getting some turnovers."
  Sarah Breslin scored the first eight points of the second half on a layup and two three-pointers, putting PCHS up 26-19. The Lady Panthers held Red Bud to just five points for the second quarter in a row and led 31-24 heading to the fourth period.
  "Sarah's one of our best shooters, she just never shoots," Engelhardt said. "When we do our breakdowns, percentage-wise, she's our best shooter. Tonight they were sagging off of her, and she did a nice job of stepping into it. I thought our kids did a nice job looking for her when she knocked down a couple."
  In the fourth, the game came down to free throws, and Megan Breslin was up to the challenge, hitting 5-of-6 at the charity stripe to help PCHS stay out in front.
  "Megan, late, we want the ball in her hands," Engelhardt said. "She and Kenzie (Rushing) are both 70-plus percent free throw shooters. Kenzie was having a rougher time tonight, but Megan did a nice job of coming and getting the ball. She wants to get fouled down the stretch. I think she's hit over 100 on the season now."
  S. Breslin had 16 points for Pinckneyville, M. Breslin had 12, Aubrey Bruns and Rushing each had 4, Haliegh Kling 2, and Kiya Hagene 1.
  "A lot of the shots we were taking were good shots - early in the game," said Engelhardt. "But then we kept shooting them when we were not making them. Later in the game that becomes a bad shot. They did a good job of finding Kenzie and not letting her catch. Sarah hit shots, they went out and gave a little triangle-and-two look to it. So we struggled a little bit. Defensively, we kind of held serve and it kept us in the game."
  The Lady Panthers (15-13, 6-4) will meet Breese (Mater Dei) in the championship game on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in Thomas Gymnasium at PCHS.
  "They're good," Engelhardt said. "For us, it's handling their pressure. They will try to do to us what we try to do to everybody else. Number two, it's going to be rebounding, they're an exceptional rebounding team. We've got to be better at that, getting check-offs and not letting them get to the rim."

Nashville 48, Pinckneyville 39 (01/30/18)
  Pinckneyville dropped their final home game of the regular season last Tuesday night, falling 48-39 to Nashville after getting outscored 18-7 in the fourth quarter.
  "I thought we competed pretty well tonight, but we are still learning how to win big games at the end," said Engelhardt. "Kenzie did a great job of attacking the rim and finishing for us to help us grab a lead through three, but they did a good job of packing the paint to prevent us from getting it into the paint later on."
  "Defensively, I thought our pressure was pretty good most of the night, keeping them from having anything easy, but ultimately we gave up too many offensive rebounds to win. If we keep competing this way, good things will happen for us."
  The Lady Panthers were outrebounded 28-9 by the Hornettes and shot just 2-for-15 on three-point attempts.
  Rushing led the scoring with 16 points, M. Breslin had 8, Bella Pasquino 4, Kling and S. Breslin 3 apiece, Bruns and Hagene each with 2, and Payton Morgan had 1.

Carterville 61, Pinckneyville 43 (02/01/18)
  In the regular season finale for both teams, the Lady Lions handed Pinckneyville a 61-42 loss at Carterville last Thursday night, jumping ahead 20-8 in the first quarter and never trailing from there.
  "I thought we struggled to match our intensity from our game Tuesday night against Nashville," said Engelhardt, "and Carterville is so good that they make you pay for that."
  Rushing (12 points), M. Breslin (8), S. Breslin (6), Bruns (4), Elaine Shaneyfelt (4), Hagene (3), Kling (2), Taylor Witges (2) and Morgan (2) each scored for the Lady Panthers.


© 2018-19 Doug Daniels Photography