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PAXTON -- A 45-23 win over Momence kept the Paxton-Buckley-Loda girls basketball team undefeated in the Sangamon Valley Conference.
 
"That’s what I told the girls tonight – tonight is about setting us up for January and playing for that No. 1 or No. 2 seed (in the SVC Tournament)," PBL head coach Nathan Lawler said.
 
After PBL's Madi Peden made a basket and Momence's Mya Keen made two free throws to tie the game at 2-2, the Panthers (7-5, 3-0 SVC) went on a 6-0 run as Kirra Lantz made a 3-pointer before Mackenzie Bruns tallied a foul shot and then stole the ball and scored on a fastbreak layup.
 
Brooke Kelly made a basket to cut Momence's deficit to 8-4 before Lantz made two free throws and Hannah Schwarz scored via another steal and fastbreak layup to make the score 12-4 at the end of the first quarter.
 
"When we can play fast and move the ball and take care of the ball, we can do some things offensively," Lawler said. "We’re led by Mackenzie Bruns, who did a great job tonight. Madi Peden’s getting back. When we get those two rolling and everyone else gets touches, we’re going to be in a good spot."
 
From there, PBL went on another 6-0 run as McKenna Ecker, Mallorie Ecker and Bruns each tallied a basket bfore Keen made a basket to end Momence's scoreless streak with less than four minutes remaining to cut her team's deficit to 18-6.
 
The Panthers then went on a 7-0 spurt as Peden and Cosgrove each made a basket before Cosgrove tallied a free throw with 2:33 left in the second quarter and then recorded a steal and scored on a fastbreak layup via the steal to extend PBL's lead to 25-6.
 
Kaitlyn Piekarczyk made a free throw for Momence with 1:47 left in the second quarter before a steal by Bruns led to an assist to Lantz for a basket that made the halftime score 27-7. 
 
Piekarczyk's foul shot would be the last score for the Redskins until Alicia Cruz scored while getting fouled with 1:16 left in the third quarter and Icis Amphy rebounded Cruz's missed free throw and scored on the putback. The scores cut Momence's deficit to 33-11 after PBL started the third quarter on a 6-0 run.
 
"Our kids are doing a better job of implementing our defensive system," Lawler said. "We’ve kind of changed it a little bit from last year, so it has kind of taken a little bit of time, but if they keep doing what they did tonight, then we’re going to be in a good spot for January and February."
 
Lantz made two baskets and Bruns added another during PBL's initial third-quarter run. Schwarz then made a 3-pointer to extend the Panthers' lead to 36-11 as the quarter came to an end.
 
Bruns converted on a three-point play before scoring two more baskets to extend PBL's lead to 43-11, and force a running clock in the process. 
 
A free throw by Piekarczyk, two baskets by Keen, another two-point field goal by Adyson Duran and a 3-pointer by Kelly cut Momence's deficit to 43-21 before Lillie Frichtl made a basket for PBL to make the score 45-21. Piekarczyk tallied two foul shots as time expired to conclude the scoring at 45-23.
 
While Bruns led PBL with 14 points at the game's end and Lantz also scored in double figures with 11, six other Panthers made the scoring list as well as Schwarz and Cosgrove each had five points, Peden had four points and Mallorie Ecker, Frichtl and MaKenna Ecker each had two points.
 
"The more balanced we are, the better off we’re going to be," Lawler said. "Teams really focus on Mackenzie because she’s such a great talent, so when they start focusing on her and we get the ball to other people, that opens things up for her. Then she takes care of business. She’s doing a great job of being a leader and getting the ball to her teammates."
 
Junior varsity
The Paxton-Buckley-Loda junior varsity girls basketball team won 41-12 Thursday over Momence.
 
MaKenna Ecker scored six points for PBL in a first quarter in which the Panthers outscored Momence 17-2. Hannah Schwarz added four points while Kayla Adwell made a 3-pointer and Lillie Frichtl and Mallorie Ecker each made a two-point basket.
 
In the second quarter, Abbi Williamson scored four points while Jacey Parrish and Sara Hewerdine each scored two points as PBL went into halfitme leading 25-6.
 
The Panthers outscored Momence 10-4 in the third quarter as Lorena Arnett had four points while Frichtl had three points, Williamson had three points and Adwell added a free throw. In the fourth quarter, Mia Sifuentes had four opints while Makynlie Hewerdine had two points.
 
At the game's end, MaKenna Ecker and Williamson each had six points while Frichtl and Arnett each had five points. Schwarz, Adwell and Sifuentes each had four points while Mallorie Ecker, Parrish and Sara and Makynlie Hewerdine each had two points.
 
JUNIOR VARSITY GIRLS
PBL 41, Momence 12
MOM 2   4   4   2   -- 12
PBL 17  8  10  6  -- 41
Momence
Brooklyn Coulter 0-0-0, Celeste Rose 0-0-0, Alissa Bales 0-0-0, Ashlynn Bales 0-0-0, Aubrey Ogibovic 2-0-4, Lamiya Lillard 0-0-0, Laynie Metz 4-0-8. Totals 6-0-12.
PBL 
Macie Rudin 0-0-0, Hannah Schwarz 2-0-4, SkyLer Eaker 0-0-0, Lillie Frichtl 2-1-5, Lorena Arnett 1-2-4, Mallorie Ecker 1-0-2, Jacey Parrish 1-0-2, Kayla Adwell 1-1-4, Maisy Johnson 0-0-0, Jordan Parrish 0-0-0, Mia Sifuentes 2-0-4, MaKenna Ecker 3-0-6, Sara Hewerdine 1-0-2, Makynlie Hewerdine 1-0-2, Abbi Williamson 3-0-6. Totals 18-4-41. 
3-pointers -- PBL (Adwell).
 
HIGH SCHOOL VARSITY GIRLS
PBL 45, Momence 23
MOM 4   3   4   12 -- 23
PBL 12 15  9   9   -- 45
Momence 
Lamiya Lillard 0-0-0, Brooke Kelly 2-0-5, Adyson Duran 1-0-2, Mya Keen 3-2-8, Kaitlyn Piekarczyk 0-4-4, Icis Amphy 1-0-2, Alicia Cruz 1-0-2. Totals 8-6-23.
PBL (7-5, 3-0)
Mallorie Ecker 1-0-2, Macie Rudin 0-0-0, Mackenzie Bruns 6-2-14, Madi Peden 2-0-4, Hannah Schwarz 2-0-5, Baylee Cosgrove 2-1-5, Kirra Lantz 4-2-11, Clarisa Wieneke 0-0-0, Brooke Walder 0-0-0, Lillie Frichtl 1-0-2, MaKenna Ecker 1-0-2. Totals 19-5-45.
3-pointers -- PBL 2 (Schwarz, Lantz).