The Ellsworth Community College men's basketball team has gone 1-1 in its last two games. The Panthers won 73-55 against #15 ranked Dakota County on Dec. 1 and then suffered a loss to #1 ranked DIII Rock Valley College 71-64 on Friday, Dec. 4.
The Panthers had a strong performance against Dakota County and controlled the pace and tempo throughout. ECC uncharacteristically struggled some from the free throw line, shooting only 60%. On the flip side, the Panthers had a great night with passing and ball movement as well as shot selection. Turnovers have plagued the Panthers this season, but this game showed improvement with ECC having 12 for the game.
"We did a good job at all the little things, but there is always room to improve," commented ECC Assistant Coach Dain Swetalla. "We still gave up too many offensive rebounds, which the great teams do not do. We have potential to be great, we just need to keep grinding."
During the second half of the game, Rock Valley showed why it has the number one ranking: they came out and never backed down. Rock Valley had missed some open looks in the first half, but they started knocking down shots more in the second half. Rock Valley out-rebounded the Panthers 41-30.
ECC went basket for basket, but Rock Valley was hitting 3's and the Panthers were hitting 2's. Rock Valley chipped away at the Panthers' first half lead and came back to win 71-64.
"Credit to Rock Valley, they are well coached and play well together. We have the pieces in place to be a great team and can play with anyone in the country, we just need to tighten up our focus and poise throughout the entire 40 minutes and we'll be right there," said Coach Swetalla.
The Panthers will be on the road the next three games before holiday break. They will travel to Indian Hills in Ottumwa to participate in a tournament on Friday, Dec. 11, playing Kankakee Community College at 4:30 pm on Friday and then John Wood Community College at 4:30 pm on Saturday. ECC will travel back to Ottumwa on Dec. 14 to play Indian Hills at 7 pm.
Photo Caption: ECC's Jon Harrington takes a shot against Dakota County during their game on Dec. 1.