ELWOOD — After falling behind early, the Elwood girls basketball team started playing with passion and enthusiasm en route to a 62-45 win over the Taylor in its first-round sectional matchup Wednesday.
The Class 2A, No. 14 Panthers (16-5) fell behind by as many as seven points early, but by the end of the first eight minutes they had gained control, taking a 17-14 lead into the second quarter.
Katelyn Leisure propelled her team by scoring seven first-quarter points, and Tenasha Stephens followed her teammate’s effort with six points.
The Titans (5-16) never got closer than those three points as Elwood outscored its opponent 17-9 in the second quarter to push its lead to 34-23 at the break. Taylor Noone tacked on six points, and reserve Mackenzie Wilson added four.
Wilson sparked her team from the moment she came off the bench, finishing with 12 points and 13 boards.
Senior guard Jesse Noone was racking up assists in the first half but only had three points after the first 16 minutes. That changed in the second half as she looked for her own opportunities and made the most of them by collecting 14 of her team-high 17 points after halftime.
Stephens and Jordyn Wright helped protect their team’s lead. Stephens finished with 10 points, and Wright had eight to go along with a game-high 15 rebounds.
Taylor’s Brie Boehler gave the Panthers fits by scoring 25 points, with 15 of those coming in the first half, but as she started to miss shots in the second half her team’s margin for error started to fade.
No other Titan scored in double figures, and they were outrebounded 52-32. Kaitlynn Good led Taylor with six caroms.
Madison-Grant won a thriller in the first game of the night over Alexandria to force a Friday night semifinal against the Panthers. Elwood defeated Madison-Grant 70-44 on Dec. 30 in a Central Indiana Conference matchup.