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Panthers reach SJI title game

HUNTINGTON, W.

Friday, January 25, 2002

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The rematch is set.

Last season, the Chesapeake Panthers beat the Tolsia Rebels in the semifinals of the St. Joe Invitational. The Panthers then beat host Huntington St. Joe in the finals.

The same scenario developed Wednesday as the Panthers stopped Tolsia 60-41 and the Fighting Irish knocked off Fairland 62-53 to set up Friday’s title game between Chesapeake and St. Joe.

"We played the best defense we’ve played, and then we got on the glass," Panthers coach Norm Persin said. "We moved the ball real well. We made that improvement since the first time we played them. And the kids are playing with more confidence. They’re thinking about winning and not losing."

Tolsia had beaten Chesapeake earlier this season by one point in a game the Panthers had 38 turnovers.

There were few turnovers this time as Chesapeake improved to 10-3 with its ninth straight win.

Chesapeake won 48-41 at St. Joe’s home court earlier this season, but Persin is still very concerned.

"We have to take them one at a time. St. Joe is very athletic and they’re a good team," Persin said.

Aaron Gossett scored 16 points to pace the Panthers. Nick Karle had 13 points and Adam Skeens added 10.

Chris Fletcher had 11 for the Rebels who meet Fairland at 7 p.m. Friday in the consolation game.

Tolsia 11 4 10 16 – 41

Chesapeake 20 6 12 22 – 60

TOLSIA: Josh Sammons 3, Rob Parsley 2, Jason Hatfield 6, Chris Fletcher 11, Jeff Lester 1, Matt Golden 3, Seth Caudill 4, Andrew Ramey 3, David Fields 6, Josh Muncy 2.

CHESAPEAKE (10-3): Adam Skeens 10, Aaron Gossett 16, Nick Karle 13, Brad Fulton 6, Tommie Hill 0, Matt Rucker 4, T.R. Hannan 3, Daniel Thompson 0, Timmy Thacker 4, Justin Hamlin 0, Bobby Evans 0, Luke Beach 2, Tendoy Huffman 0.