The Ellsworth Community College men's basketball team traveled to Wahpeton, ND, this past weekend to participate in the Baymont Inn Classic. ECC split for the weekend, taking a loss on Friday 97-67 against North Dakota College of Science and a win on Saturday 84-76 over North Dakota Bottineau.
The Panthers started the weekend off rough against NDSCS, initially matching them shot for shot and getting some stops, but that quickly turned as NDSCS scored on a series of layups and open threes, taking control of the game.
NDSCS's pressure had ECC out of rhythm and they were unable to make shots. They struggled to find clean open looks from both the interior and perimeter.
Myzeah Batie-Gaddy led the Panthers with 27 points, but ECC only had one other player in double figures: Tony Johnson had 10 points.
ECC shot only 35% and had a 21% three-point shooting. They did shoot 86% from the free throw line, making 25 of 29 baskets.
ECC Head Men's Basketball Coach Troy Muilenburg commented, "We need to find a way to bring the intensity for the whole 40 minutes of the game. As a team we need to play stronger and more physical at both ends of the floor. That has to become a priority for us to have success."
ECC bounced back from Friday's loss to take the win against North Dakota Bottineau on Saturday. The Panthers came out on top of a battle where neither team was going to give up. It was 40 minutes of two teams who were not going to back down from one another. The final score was 84-76. Coach Muilenburg said the Panthers showed grit and toughness for the whole 40 minutes.
"Our interior posts played a solid game," commented Muilenburg. "Batie-Gaddy continued the type of play that's become expected of him, but it was great to see Tony Johnson step up and make big plays on both offense and defense. Offensively these two guys were difficult for Dakota to contain. This forced them to double often, which generated open perimeter shots for the rest of the team."
Batie-Gaddy, Tony Johnson, Michael Evans and Mo Arrington combined for 30 rebounds and 60 points, going 21 of 36 from the floor and 15 of 17 from the free throw line. Batie-Gaddy was again the leading scorer for the Panthers with 30 points; Tony Johnson was close behind with 19.
ECC shot 45% from the floor and 40% from three-point range. They also shot 79% on free throws, tallying 22 of 28. They out-rebounded North Dakota Bottineau 48-38. Their 20 turnovers did plague the Panthers.
"It's nice to see us grind out a win and in doing so it gives us something to build on," commented Muilenburg.
The Panthers will be at home for their next five games, with the home opener this Tuesday, Nov. 17, against William Penn JV at 7:30 pm.