WELCH - Welch won the battle but lost the war against Foyil.

The Wildcats pulled to within one point in the third quarter but saw the fifth-ranked Panthers pull away during a 60-51 victory in the first round of the Kenneth Sooter Invitational basketball tournament here Monday.

“We played hard - this was the best game we've played all year,” Welch coach Josh Schertz said. “This is something to build on. They are a real good team even without the Murray kid. They beat No. 1 Oktaha by 10 earlier.”

The Welch girls rolled to a 63-41 victory over Foyil in their first outing.

In other first-round games, St. Paul, Kan., swept White Oak, rolling 59-26 in the boys' game and 51-32 in the girls' contest.

Tonight's schedule includes Watts vs. South Coffeyville girls, 4 p.m.; Watts vs. South Coffeyville boys, 5:30 p.m.; Commerce vs. Chetopa, Kan girls, 7 p.m., and Commerce vs. Chetopa boys, 8:30 p.m.

Then on Thursday, its Foyil vs. White Oak girls, 4 p.m.; Welch vs. White Oak boys, 5:30 p.m.; Welch vs. St. Paul, Kan., girls, 7 p.m., and Foyil vs. St. Paul boys, 8:30 p.m.

“I am real proud of the guys,” Schertz said. “We need to do a better job on the boards and take care of the ball. We had a stretch there where we threw it away three or four times in a row.”

The Panthers had led 32-26 at the break only to have Welch use an 8-2 burst to pull to within one, 35-34 with 4:36 left.

A 3-pointer from the left wing by Taylor Antle bumped the Foyil lead back up to four - and the Panthers were never headed again.

They led 45-38 heading into the final stanza and were up by as many as nine points down the stretch.

Antle finished with 28 points while former Wildcat Dillon Noland added 11. Jared Ward also was in double figures, netting 10 points.

Welch picked up 24 points from 6-3 sophomore Joey Powers.

In the girls' game, Welch used a 21-11 burst in the second quarter to take charge.

The Lady Wildcats were up 17-11 at the turn then went into the break with a 16-point cushion.

They continued to pull away in the second half thanks to 18-13 and 7-6 margins.

Kalleigh Chrz poured in 29 points to lead the way offensively for the Lady Cats. Sierra Hankins added 10 points as nine players broke into the scoring column for WHS.

Tiffany Snyder scored 16 points to lead the Lady Panthers.

Girls

St. Paul, Kan. 11 18 6 16 - 51

White Oak 3 4 14 11 - 32

St. Paul - Tuck 17, Beachner 10, K. Borum 7, Giefer 6, M. Borum 6, Westhoff 3, O'Brien 2.

White Oak - Myers 13, Egnor 8, LeFlore 7, Berend 4.

3-point goals - Tuck 3, Myers 3, Berend 1.

Foyil 11 11 13 6 - 41

Welch 17 21 18 7 - 63

Foyil - Snyder 16, Remington 8, Chaisson 3, Murray 3, Harriett 2, Shahm 1.

Welch - Chrz 29, Hankins 10, Chenoweth 6, Snedden 6, A. Marlow 4, Kenworthy 3, Smith 2, McClurg 2, K. Marlow 1.

3-point goals - Chaisson 1, Murray 1, Chenoweth 2, Kenworthy 1, Chrz 2.

Boys

St. Paul, Kan. 11 19 14 15 - 59

White Oak 6 7 9 4 - 26

St. Paul - Diskin 16, Winter 10, Sehibi 9, Vitt 7, Giefer 6, Corn 5