ELWOOD — In two games that couldn't have been more different, the Elwood Panthers swept conference foe and county rival Alexandria in a girls/boys double-header here Friday night.
The Panthers boys fell behind early and caught up late in a 64-58 win. Elwood's girls blew out to an early big lead and never let up in a 61-28 triumph.
For the Elwood boys, the key element was a change in defense. The Panthers used a trapping defense against the Tigers smaller guards. Those guards held the ball a bit too long and were forced into turnovers. Even when the trap was broken, some of the Tigers were unwilling to take wide open 8-foot shots, preferring to dish outside for long-range bombs.
Alexandria shot 29 of its 52 field goal attempts from beyond the arc and hit just nine. The Tigers hit 14-of-23 from inside.
The Panthers caught up when Griffin Hughes scored from under the hoop with 6:41 left in the game to deadlock the score at 44-44. The two teams traded periods in the lead until just under a minute remained when Jared Bourff stopped to the forefront.
Bourff hit a 3-point to break a 54-54 deadlock and he followed that with a pair of free throws for a 59-54 advantage with 53.9 seconds left. Alexandria never again was able to pull even.
Bourff led all scorers with 30 points, hitting 7-of-13 field goals and all but two of his 14 free throws. London Leavell followed with 13 points and Dakin Updegraff tossed in 11.
The Tigers won the rebound battle 30-21 but tossed away some of that advantage with 14 turnovers to 10 for Elwood. The Panthers had no errors in the final period.
Braden Warren topped the visitors in scoring with 14 points followed by Layton Carroll and Blaize Kelly with 12 apiece.The Tigers drop to 5-7 and the Panthers improve to 5-6.
In the girls contest, Elwood's early full-court press launched the Panthers into a sizable lead and the home team never was seriously threatened.
The Tigers had nine turnovers in the opening quarter and the Panthers spread the scoring among six players in taking an 18-4 advantage after eight minutes.
It was nearly as bad in the second quarter as Elwood outscored Alexandria 20-9 in that period for a 38-13 advantage at intermission.
The Panthers had four score nine or more points. Ten players saw action and all scored. Katelyn Leisure and Tenasha Stephens each scored a dozen points. Leisure got half of her points from long range and Stephens worked inside, where she also led the team in rebounding with seven. Elwood won the battle of the boards 39-31.
The Tigers were also hurt by poor shooting as they hit just 10-of-45 from the field. No Alexandria player scored more than the eight by Morgan Oliver. Kennedy Aiman had seven points. She and Macie Cox each had six rebounds for the Tigers.
Alexandria dropped to 3-11 with the loss and Elwood improved to 10-5.