Lady Panthers earn their way into Final Four at Benton Tournament

Megan Breslin had 23 points in two games on day one of the Benton Christmas Tournament. (Doug Daniels photo; full gallery below)

By Doug Daniels /

December 26, 2017

  (Benton, Ill.) - The Lady Panthers played their way into the final four at the Benton Rangerette Christmas Classic, defeating Marion on Wednesday morning, 46-38, then thrashing the event host 51-17 later that night.
  Pinckneyville led by a point at the half and by two at the break against Marion, but outscored the Wildcats 14-8 in the final period to come away with a win in the 9:00 a.m. game.
  A balanced scoring attach was led by Megan Breslin with 13 points, Kenzie Rushing added 8, Haleigh Kling and Bella Pasquino each scored 6, Sarah Breslin 4, Elaine Shaneyfelt, Taylor Witges and Aubrey Bruns all had 3. Freshmen Rushing and Pasquino led PCHS in rebounding with 4 apiece, and each added 2 steals, as did M. Breslin and Witges.
  While the game with Marion was tight throughout, Pinckneyville blew Benton out of Rich Herrin Gymnasium by halftime, including a 15-0 run to close out the first half. The Lady Panthers were getting good looks and some easy buckets, which showed on the stat sheet as they shot 19-for-32 (59%) from the field.
  "The girls did a great job of pressuring the ball tonight and not letting Benton get to their dominant hands to drive," said PCHS head coach Alan Engelhardt. "We got some deflections and run outs to build our lead."
  "I thought Kenzie Rushing did a nice job of attacking the rim to get us going offensively, and Bella Pasquino really made some great passes to set us up with easy layups and jumpers," Engelhardt said. "In both the morning and evening games, Megan Breslin did a nice job of finding offense for us, which opened up opportunities for others. It was a good start to the tournament and we have put ourselves into position to play in the final four."
  Rushing had 13 points to lead Pinckneyville against Benton, and M. Breslin was in double figures as well with 10. Witges had 8 points including a pair of three pointers. Bruns finished with 6 points, S. Breslin 5, Pasquino 4, Payton Morgan and Kiya Hagene each had 2, and Emmalee Chaney had 1.
  The Rangerette Christmas Classic continues through Friday in Benton.


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