Offense gives Panthers win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 29, 1999

Chesapeake – Most coaches talk about defense.

Thursday, December 30, 1999

Chesapeake – Most coaches talk about defense. And while Chesapeake’s Norm Persin and Ironton’s Chris Barnes are aware of its importance, they couldn’t help talking offense.

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It was the offenses that were in the spotlight Tuesday night as the Chesapeake Panthers shot their way past the Ironton Fighting Tigers, 81-52.

Chesapeake (6-0) was red-hot from the field, especially the second half as the Panthers connected on 19-of-28 shots for 68 percent. They were 29-of-48 for the game, a 63 percent clip.

Leading the way were Zeb Best with 17 points and Andy Clark with 14. Bobby Barbour has 12 points and Anthony Delimpo scored 11 points – all in the second half – and grabbed 11 rebounds.

"The first half was like the weather. It was ugly and no one could get any kind of rhythm," Persin said. "But we made a run at the end of the third quarter and we shot the ball well (the second half).

"Clark looked to shoot the ball and he shot well. Best played well the first half and (Adam) Pemberton made things happen. He handled the ball, had some steals and got the ball in the right hands."

Ironton (2-4) was shooting in the opposite direction. The Fighting Tigers made only 20-of-58 shots for 34.5 percent and a mere 2-of-14 from behind the arc.

Jason Harmon had 16 points and 13 rebounds, but no other Ironton player reached double figures.

"Defense wins games, but you still have to put the ball in the hole," said Barnes. "I don’t know how many layups we missed, and we had a lot of good looks at the basket and didn’t hit the shot."

Ironton scored first and trailed 5-4 midway through the first quarter after a steal and layup by Drew Mains.

But the Fighting Tigers managed just one basket the rest of the quarter as Chesapeake went up 13-6.

The Panthers kept stretching the lead only to have Ironton chip its way back including a 12-footer by Ryan McClellan with 1:40 left in the half that cut the spread to 23-18.

Best then sank two fouls hots and Matt Miller’s layup just before the buzzer extended the lead to 27-18 at the break.

Michael Henry, who sat out most of the game in foul trouble, hit a short jumper to begin the second half for Ironton, but Clark’s two foul shots and a layup by Best put the lead at 31-20.

A layup by Roman Fry off a pass from Harmon made it 35-24 at the 4:45 mark. Chesapeake then went on a 6-0 run and a baseline jumper by Miller had the lead at 53-32 just before the end of the quarter.

Harmon hit a 3-pointer only to have Matt White get a layup with one second to go and the Panthers were up 55-35.

Chesapeake was 11-of-14 from the field the third quarter.

"Five times to start the third quarter we had a stop on them and we gain only two points," said Barnes.

"Every game this year but one we’ve lost points the third quarter. Once they got up and started shooting loose. We get one guy in double figures and they have four."

Ironton could get no closer than 20 points the fourth quarter and Harmon’s two foul shots with 2:19 to play were the last of the game for the Fighting Tigers.

Delimpo’s foul shot with 1:41 left had the lead at 75-52 and a 3-pointer by Adam Webb and a layup by Beckett Gue over the final 20 seconds capped the scoring.

Next Tuesday, Ironton plays at Fairland while Chesapeake hosts South Point to begin Ohio Valley Conference play.