Panthers, Pirates not about to change ways

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 10, 2000

Don’t expect the Chesapeake Panthers or Wheelersburg Pirates to change much of anything when they collide at 6:15 p.

Friday, March 10, 2000

Don’t expect the Chesapeake Panthers or Wheelersburg Pirates to change much of anything when they collide at 6:15 p.m. Saturday in the Division III Southeast District championship game at Ohio University.

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Chesapeake coach Norm Persin said there’s no reason to change anything after winning 20 games in 22 attempts. Wheelersburg coach Tom Barrick has his team at 19-4 and doesn’t plan to change either.

"We’re not going to change and they won’t either. They’re going to pound it inside and we’re going to get it out and run," Persin said of the contrasting styles.

Barrick, who is 0-3 against the Panthers, isn’t about to alter his game plan.

"We’re not going to get away from what we’ve been doing all year. We’ll get out and go when we can, but we’re not going to get out of control. It’s that old adage that you dance with the one who brought you," said Barrick.

And the one who has helped take Wheelersburg to the district dance is 6-foot-6 sophomore Andrew Burleson.

Burleson is averaging 20.4 points and 7.2 rebounds a game. His efforts helped the Pirates win the Southern Ohio Conference championship including a regular season-ending 72-53 rout of Lucasville Valley that determined the league title.

"You’re not going to stop Burleson. He’s going to get his points. We just have to keep him contained and not let him have a major game like he can," said Persin.

Mike Yelley, a 6-8 senior center, will team with Burleson to give the Pirates a big frontcourt. Senior Jason Schmidt, a 6-3 guard, is the team’s second leading scorer. Point guard Andy Gill, a 6-2 senior, and Geoff Givan, a 6-3 junior, round out the starting lineup.

"Schmidt is crafty. He’s pretty good player and he’s a winner. He knows what it takes. He knows how to get in the lane. We’ll have to be aware of him," said Persin.

A couple of sophomores, 6-3 Bryan Yelley and 5-10 Paul Miller, are the top players off the bench.

The Pirates size is a concern to Persin, especially if 6-3 Zeb Best is unable to answer the bell Saturday. Best sprained his knee in last week’s 64-47 win over Lucasville Valley and is listed as day-to-day.

"We’re going to have to contend with their size. Rebounding will be the key. That’s what they’ve done all year. They just pound you inside. They’re a little more physical than some of the teams we’ve played," said Persin.

"We’ve got a little more size than most team’s they’ve played, but if Best can’t go then that will be a concern."

Chesapeake, ranked sixth in the final Associated Press poll, is led by 6-5 junior Anthony Delimpo with 16 points and 11 rebounds a game. He has shot 63 percent from the field and had 21 points in last week’s rout of Valley.

Bobby Barbour, a 5-9 junior guard, is averaging 15 points a game and is shooting 53 percent from the floor. The inside-outside tandem of Delimpo and Barbour worries Barrick.

"It’s a double-edged sword with Delimpo. He’s good inside, but you have to be conscious of where Barbour is. We’ll have to mix up how we defend the post," said Barrick.

The most unheralded player may be 5-10 senior guard Adam Pemberton. Although not a big scoring threat, Pemberton is the playmaker on offense with 5.5 assists a game and his defensive skills have produced 6.0 steals a contest.

But Pemberton’s defense hasn’t gone unnoticed by Barrick.

"Defensively, he’s as good an on-the-ball defender as we’ve seen all year. He anticipates well. He can really take over a game defensively. We have to be conscious of where he is," said Barrick.

Andy Clark, a 6-foot senior, rounds out the starting lineup. If Best is unable to play, 6-foot senior Matt White will probably step in.

Regardless of who plays, Barrick said the Panthers speed and how well his team plays early will be two major keys toward the outcome.

"I think on paper when you look at it, their speed and quickness at the guard spots are an advantage for them. We match up with them well inside," said Barrick. "We’ll have to match their intensity early until we get into the flow of the game, and we have to be able to play transition."