The Ellsworth Community College men's basketball team traveled to NIACC in Mason City this past weekend to compete in the Konigsmark Classic to open regular season play. The Panthers took home two wins for the weekend, defeating Pure Prep Academy on Nov. 6 by 116-65 and besting Dakota Wesleyan JV the next day 86-61.
The ECC men controlled the action against Pure Prep Academy with a balanced attack of perimeter shooting and interior post play. The Panthers had four players in double digits: Myzeah Batie-Gaddy tallied 23 points (3-5 – 3 pointers), 4 rebounds and 2 assists; Keeon Johnson scored 18 points (4-6 – 3 pointers) and had 2 rebounds; Michael Evans had 19 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block; and Yach Deng finished the game with 13 points (3-4 – 3 pointers), 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal.
The Panthers made 46 of 69 for a 67% field goal percentage, went 13 of 22 from three-point range (60%), and were 11 of 13 from the free throw line, for 85%. They held Pure Prep to only 43% field goal percent.
"We have improved our conditioning and defensive structure, but with 17 turnovers for the game, our decision-making and ball security needs to improve for us to compete with the elite teams in the country," commented ECC Assistant Men's Basketball Coach Dain Swetalla.
In the Panthers' win against Dakota Wesleyan JV, they over powered and outmatched Dakota at every position. The Panthers were easily in control of the game from start to finish. Continuing their consistent play from game one were Batie-Gaddy, who had 22 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists; Evans with 8 points, 11 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal; Keeon Johnson had 14 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists; and Deng had 10 points and 6 rebounds. Also coming on strong in this game was freshman Keith Leavy Jr., who had 13 points and 3 rebounds.
Despite the Panther's low shooting percentage (44%) they were able to outscore Dakota Wesleyan JV in the first half 50-30 and take home the win 86-61. ECC shot 75% from the free throw line and struggled outside, shooting only 25% from the three-point range.
"Our guys are showing streaks of outstanding moments and consistent play on both ends, but mental mistakes and careless possessions are still too common," commented Coach Swetalla. "Tallying 17 turnovers and playing a series of poor defensive positions late in both halves, we left with a win but didn't feel good about how we played. The pieces are in place for success. We just need to find our groove and put it together night after night."
The Panthers will be on the road for the next game against North Central Missouri College on Tuesday, Nov. 10, with a tip-off time of 7:30 pm.