NORTH VERNON — The Jennings County girls put together what coach Carrie Manowitz said was one of the Panthers’ better halves of the season and carried it to a 75-59 win against Seymour on Friday night in the Charles E. Hurley Gymnasium.
“I would say that definitely ranks up there as one of our better halves,” she said.
The Panthers opened up a 33-13 lead by the 4:50 mark of the second period and were still on top, 38-23, at the half.
“The girls were real motivated to play. It’s a real neat atmosphere tonight with the boy-girl doubleheader,” Manowitz said. “I wasn’t sure how we could come out being the first game, but I kind of like it.”
The Owls jumped on top early at 7-2 before the Panthers used a 9-0 lead to charge back and take the lead for good.
Sidney Gerkin had the hot hand for the Panthers in the first period with nine points, Brooklyn Gaines scored seven, and Shelbi Wright added five to produce a 21-11 lead. Each of the three players hit a 3-pointer in the quarter.
The Panthers stayed hot the first three minutes of the second period to outscore the Owls 12-2 to lead 33-13 following two free throws by Gerkin at 4:56.
Eliza Gasper, Gerkin and Wright made 3-pointers in the second quarter, when the Panthers stretched the lead to 15.
“I felt like we got good shots and they went in,” Manowitz said. “Everything looks better when the ball is going in, but I felt like we did a good job of getting it to the right person at the right time. Sometimes you get it to the right person and it’s not a good pass with double-teams, but tonight I really felt we made that extra pass to the right person.”
The Panthers (10-9) made 24 of 43 shots from the floor, and the Owls hit 23 of 46.
Gerkin and Wright provided a strong 1-2 punch for the Panthers with 28 and 22 points, respectively.
Maci Lubker topped the Owls (14-4) with 23 points and Kayla Griffin scored 12.
This is the second time the Hoosier Hills Conference and sectional rivals have played this season, with the Owls winning the earlier game. Friday’s game was a nonconference tilt.
“They’re a great team and we know them as well as we know anybody, Manowitz said.
The Owls and Panthers could play a third time in the sectional at Bedford North Lawrence.
“It’s fun,” Manowitz said. “That’s what I told the girls. It was a little bit of a sectional atmosphere with the crowd. That’s what you want to play for. We talked about this isn’t the end. This should motivate us to work even harder at practice and be even more focused than we already were.”