Panthers prepare for LaSalle

Elder Panthers take on the LaSalle Lancers Friday night to kick off GCL play

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This upcoming Friday in The Pit, the Panthers will begin their first of the two game series against their rivals, the LaSalle Lancers. Elder heads into the game with a 10-1 record, and LaSalle comes in 8-1, setting up an epic battle of two great teams.

Each team will try and kick off the GCL part of their schedule with a great start to further their quest for the GCL title. Last year, the Panthers and the Lancers finished tied atop the GCL, along with Moeller with all finishing 4-2, with no team losing at home. Winning on the road in the GCL is one of the toughest things to accomplish, which is why Elder will be the favorite heading into this game. But either way, it’s never easy.

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Panthers getting ready for last year’s game against Lasalle

“It’s never easy playing in the GCL,” senior forward Ryan Custer told me. “The games are always tough but always great to be a part of.”

The GCL is just so tough to win in every single sport, especially basketball due to the fact that playing on your home court brings such an advantage due to the intense crowd.

“There’s nothing better than playing on your home floor,” said senior guard Frankie Hofmeyer. “In the GCL, it means everything.”

Going in to this season, both Elder and LaSalle were both heavily talked about to win the GCL. Last year they both finished at the top with Elder winning a classic in double OT to clinch the share of the title. No matter what, this game is always a good one. The effort never seems to be in question in this classic match up of two hard nosed teams.

Elder enters the game ranked second in the state, as LaSalle comes in ranked 15th. Point guard play is going to be huge in this contest. With the intense pressure defense that LaSalle’s guards always bring, and the bothering defense of point guard Joey Sabato, the point guards will have to remain poised and take care of the ball in front of a big crowd in the Pit Friday night.

It’s never easy playing in the GCL”

— Ryan Custer

Although some think that the crowd wouldn’t play a factor in the game, Elder’s cheering section would strongly disagree.

“The Basketball cheering sections are always a fun time,” said junior Brad Simonson. “The two years I’ve been a part of them have been awesome.” With the closeness and the loudness of the section, it really brings an intimidating factor that can rattle the visiting team.

All I know is, this game never seems to disappoint. Two years ago, Elder game from down 20 in the third quarter to win, and last year, the Lancers took to Elder to double OT only for the Panthers to win the game due to late game heroics by Joey Sabato. So if there’s one thing to expect from this game, it’ll be another classic that hopefully the Panthers are able to pull off.