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Panthers back in their ‘house’

The Putnam County Panthers will be back in all the comforts of R.M. Germano Gymnasium for 1A sectional play, where as the Panthers say, “This is Our House.” It will be a nice home court advantage for the Panthers when they face Colfax Ridgeview at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“We are 11-0 at home and don’t have to take a long bus ride like the other schools do.  It can’t hurt playing here,” PC coach Josh Nauman said. “We should have a great crowd and our kids should be comfortable playing here. Hopefully it will help us stay relaxed and we come out and play well.”

The PC-Ridgeview game was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but was pushed back a night due to the postponement of Tuesday’s semifinal between Decatur Christian and Mason City Illini Central, which was moved to Wednesday. Nauman said the extra day doesn’t really help, other than give the Panthers a day of rest, because they were unable to practice Tuesday because of the early dismissal.

PC (23-7) seeks its first sectional championship since 2007 when the squad went onto a fourth-place Class A State finish in the final year of the 2-class system. PC last won regional in 2009 and has won nine regionals and three sectional in school history.

The Panthers will face a 23-7 Ridgeview team that won its own regional, defeating Lexington 53-42. The Mustangs are coached by Rodney Kellar, a standout player for the former Colfax Octavia district under Don Carlson, who later coached at St. Bede.

Kellar has won over 400 games with five regionals and two sectionals in 27 years at his hometown school.

IV All-Star game: PC is bringing back the Illinois Valley All-Star game for the second year on March 23, featuring the area’s top senior players. Twenty-four area schools around PC will be divided into North and South teams. Coaches have been asked to nominate players from their teams and then a vote will be taken to determine who makes the cut.

Six shooters: Three Bureau County shooters will take part in the sectional Three-Point Showdown at Byron, Friday. Hall senior Brett Fanning, St. Bede senior Grant Bosnich and Princeton junior Zach Hicks will be vying for one of four spots in a cast of 20 hopefulls seeking a berth to the IHSA State finals in Peoria.

At Granville, Putnam County’s own Cody Veronda and Harold Fay will compete in the 1A Sectional Three-Point Showdown along with Josh McCall and Nathan Helle of Henry-Senachwine.

Lady Trojans honored: Mendota sophomore Amy Devitt was named First Team Big Northern Conference West Division All-Conference. Classmate Ally Bromenschenkel received honorable mention.

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