"Close" should have been a relative term, given Danville's start. The Ironmen led 12-2 a little more than five minutes in, and the 6-foot Renz had all but two of the points. The Panthers shot 1-for-9 from the field, committed six turnovers and trailed 16-4 at period's end.
"The first quarter, it seemed like we did everything we could to give the game away," said Slusser. "We didn't take care of the ball; we did not match their intensity at all. I mean, Danville came out and took it to us.
"One thing I told the girls was 'They're going to come out strong; we cannot get put back on our heels.' That's exactly what happened."
Mackenna Miller opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer, but the Panthers' turnovers continued to mount. At one point they had 10 giveaways to nine shots; a few minutes later, they had 13 shots (four makes) and 12 turnovers.
"Throughout this whole season we've had trouble at times getting off to a slow start. But we know that as a team we can come back and make it a game," said Gensel. "We couldn't have the (here-we-go-again) mind set. As long as we played our game, we knew we could get back."
A Renz free throw made it 23-11 with 3:20 left in the half but Danville didn't score again, allowing Milton to pull within seven at the break. Renz had 13 points and seven rebounds at halftime (same as Tuesday's first half at Shikellamy), and finished with game-highs of 23 and 13, respectively.
The freshman was the only Ironmen who scored in the third, and her nine points helped Danville keep pace. In the fourth, however, the Ironmen managed just five shots due in large part to eight turnovers.
"We got careless with basketball. We just quit doing the things we were supposed to do," Moser said. "We forced some shots; we turned the ball over -- unforced turnovers. At that point in time, it wasn't so much their defense as it was our carelessness. Later in the game they played some good defense and we didn't react like I thought we should have."