Lenhart got to the line for 21 free-throws on the night, knocking down 15 of them, including seven straight in the fourth to keep the Cougars at bay after they closed within six with 3:15 to play in the game. After Joe Sandhoff came up limping at the end of the Newell-Fonda game earlier in the week, SM fans got another scare Friday as Lenhart spent the majority of the second half limping as well.
"He was so effective for us in that first half," said St. Mary's head coach Brad Wilkening. "He was really getting to the rim well. We're hoping his ankle's not bad. He came down on somebody's foot. We've got to make sure he gets some ice on it and is ready to go Monday against (LeMars) Gehlen."
Kennedy Drey was equally impressive, notching a triple with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks. After Lenhart came up gingerly in the second half, Drey kept the Panthers chugging along with 10 points in the third quarter alone.
"He's a horse," said Wilkening. "He did a great job. He had some blocks. He had some steals. He got o-boards and putbacks."
A Josh Demers free throw was the only other Panther point in the game as their 1-2 duo shouldered nearly the entire scoring load.
A breakneck first quarter saw 41 points put up, with the Panthers leading 24-17 after one. They would build a double-digit lead at half at 33-23. They widened it to 49-35 after three, before a 9-1 Manson NWW run made it 50-44. Lenhart would sink four straight at the line to make it a double-digit lead again, and the lead wouldn't fall into single digits the rest of the way.
"They really just physically manhandled us at times," said Wilkening. "We really had chances to put them away, getting up 14 or 15. Next thing we know, we're turning the ball over and letting them get run-outs. We let them cut it to six late in the game. It never should have been that close. We missed some bunnies. They were running us out in transition. We were standing flat-footed and watching them take off."
Brody Eischeid led the Cougars with 14 points on the night. Josh Markert turned in 11 as MNWW falls to 11-4 with the loss.
The Panthers remain on the road again on Monday night as they make up a postponed contest Gehlen (10-2).