By JOSH RIZZO and BLAKE TOPPMEYER
Herald-Whig Sports Writers
Lady Panthers aim for more atonement
The Central-Southeastern girls basketball team is aiming to keep its revenge tour going.
The third-seeded Lady Panthers will face top-seeded Pittsfield on Thursday in the championship of the Class 2A Liberty Regional after they upset second-seeded Liberty-Payson 38-33 on Tuesday.
C-SE (13-14) lost to the Lady Eagles 53-30 on Nov. 27. The Lady Saukees beat the Lady Panthers 35-26 on Jan. 26.
"We knew they were thinking they were going to come out and blow us out," C-SE sophomore guard Dakota Limkemann, who scored a team-high 14 points, said of Liberty. "We knew we had to come out, take care of the ball and keep the tempo. Last time we played them, they ran the ball in transition, and we didn't get back. We didn't let them get into their offense."
Lady Panthers Matt Long said C-SE did a good job following assignments.
"We pressured the ball well and really got after our assignments," Long said. "The first time, it wasn't what they did to us, but what we did to ourselves. We didn't play good defense the first game."
After exorcising their first demon, the Lady Panthers now face the task of containing high-scoring senior guard Shea O'Brien and Pittsfield. It's the second consecutive season in which Pittsfield and C-SE will meet in regionals. Last season, the Lady Saukees beat the Lady Panthers twice in the regular season before C-SE upended Pittsfield 34-30 in the semifinals. The Lady Panthers then lost to Quincy Notre Dame 91-33 in the regional championship.
"We need to stop Shea O'Brien and not let them get to the boards," Limkemann said. "Once she gives up the ball, we have to not let her get it back and get into the lane."
QND hires new XC coach
The only coach the Quincy Notre Dame cross country program has ever known has passed on the torch.
QND announced late last month that Joshua Sherwood has taken over the program. He replaces Andy Edgar, who retired after 12 years. Edgar started QND's program in 2000, and he will continue assisting the program.
Sherwood was a member of the coaching staff under Edgar last season. He is an accomplished long-distance runner. Sherwood competed in cross country and track and field at North Iowa Area Community College and later at St. Ambrose (Iowa) University, and he has run in national marathons. His latest running achievement was qualifying for the Boston Marathon in April. Sherwood is a native of Wilton, Iowa.
Chargers get new baseball coach
The Illini West baseball team will be under new guidance this spring, with the school board hiring Zak Huston late last month to take over the program.
Huston replaces Todd Porter, who coached the Chargers for five seasons. Porter went 111-42 during his time as coach.
Huston, who teaches at Illini West, coached the Carthage baseball team in 2007, the final year before the consolidation to form Illini West. Huston was also an assistant baseball coach at Carthage in 2006 and assisted Porter from 2008-12. Prior to that, Huston served as an assistant baseball coach at Herscher from 2000-05.
Hannibal's Clay Cunningham has signed to compete in men's soccer for East Central College, a junior college in Union, Mo. Cunningham earned Class 2 second-team all-state honors as a defender last fall, along with all-district, all-region and All-North Central Missouri Conference honors. Hannibal finished 21-6. ... Hannibal's Gabby York will compete in softball for NAIA Central Methodist, located in Fayette, Mo. York, a catcher, was the lone Hannibal player to earn all-district honors for Class 4 District 8 last fall. York was also an All-North Central Missouri Conference selection. ... Earlier this winter, Hannibal's Kay Gieseke signed with Division II Drury for women's swimming. Located in Springfield, Mo., Drury is a national power in swimming and diving on the Division II scene. The Panthers have won eight Division II national titles, with the last coming in 2011, after previously winning three NAIA national titles. Gieseke plans to swim the sprint freestyle events at Drury. Gieseke placed fourth in the 100-meter freestyle and ninth in the 50 free at last year's state meet. ... O'Fallon's Austin Barnes signed Wednesday to compete in football for Division I Eastern Michigan as a punter. Barnes averaged 47.1 yards per punt during his high school career. Barnes is the grandson of Karen Miller of Knox City, Mo.