Panthers whip Waverly for district crown

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 10, 2001


Saturday, March 10, 2001

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Panthers whip Waverly for district crown


Tribune sports editor

ATHENS – The big men came up big. Anthony Delimpo, a 6-foot-6 senior center, and Zeb Best, a 6-3 senior forward, dominated smaller Waverly.

With a combined 50 points and 21 rebounds as the Chesapeake Panthers bounced the Tigers 77-59 Friday night to win the Division III district championship at Ohio University.

Delimpo hit 13-of-13 field goal attempts en route to a career-high 32 points. He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds. Chesapeake outrebounded Waverly 34-13.

"With players like Bobby (Barbour) and Beckett (Gue) passing me the ball, it’s easy for me to catch and score. Those guys make some great passes," Delimpo said.

"For me and Zeb, the first thing for us to do in order to win is we have to get on the glass. That opens up all kinds of things."

Best finished with 18 points and nine rebounds. He and Delimpo each had a pair of assists.

"We knew we had a big advantage in height and they couldn’t match up," Best said. "My scoring comes and goes. I just play my role and rebound and hustle."

Panthers coach Norm Persin said the two big men and point guard Beckett Gue were integral parts in the Panthers earning a seventh trip to the regionals, their sixth under Persin.

"Best and Delimpo came up huge inside. They dominated and that’s what we wanted from them," Persin said. "Gue was the whole key. He his two big 3s and ran our offense."

Gue finished with 10 points, four assists, and two steals.

Chesapeake, 23-1, will now play Moral Ridgedale at 6:15 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at Ohio University in the regional semifinals.

The second game matches Belpre and Newcomerstown. Winners meet at 3 p.m. Saturday in the regional finals for the chance to qualify for the state tournament.

Ridgedale beat Columbus Bishop Ready 62-52. Newcomerstown beat Shenandoah 67-60 in double overtime.

Waverly (14-10) was led by Creed Miller with 24 points. Derek Thomas had 11 points and Cory Coughlan 10.

The lead changed hands four times the first quarter with Waverly going up 16-15 on a 3-pointer by Ben Martin at the buzzer.

Delimpo then scored 11 points the second quarter as Chesapeake began to open up a lead.

Miller’s layup had Waverly down 28-25 with 2:13 left in the half, but Gue hit a 3-pointer, Delimpo followed up a missed shot and then he converted a 3-point play with three seconds left to put the Panthers up 36-25 at the break.

"We played in spurts, and Waverly shot the eyes out of it early. I think they hit five 3s in a row," Persin said. "We got in foul trouble and used a little matchup zone to cut down their penetration. If I made a mistake, it was coming out in the zone to start the second half."

Waverly came back the third quarter and got within 49-45 on a twisting reverse layup by Miller and a baseline jumper by Martin with 3:20 on the clock.

But Best sank two foul shots, Delimpo hit a 12-footer, and Aaron Gossett nailed a 3-pointer for a 56-45 lead. Thomas hit from the baseline but Delimpo’s 3-point play with 54 seconds left put the lead at 59-47.

A 3-point play by Coughlan with 5:07 to play got Waverly within 62-53, but Chesapeake went on a 7-2 run capped by Delimpo’s dunk and it was 69-55 with 3:18 left. The Panthers then sank 6-of-8 from the line over the next two minutes to cap the win.