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Chesapeake calms nervous Persin, 42-31

SOUTH WEBSTER – Chesapeake coach Norm Persin was walking on pins and needles.

Sunday, February 24, 2002

SOUTH WEBSTER – Chesapeake coach Norm Persin was walking on pins and needles. Now he’s floating on Cloud 9.

The reason for Persin’s shaky nerves was Friday’s Division III sectional tournament finals between the Panthers and Ironton Fighting Tigers.

The Panthers got the tempo of the game in a calm, slow, halfcourt style, and as a result, they beat the Fighting Tigers 42-31.

"I’ve never been more nervous before a game than I was this one. Not even when we were in the regionals was I this nervous. I just didn’t know how we’d come out and play," Persin said. "But we played pretty well."

Chesapeake (15-5) now plays at 8 p.m. Friday, March 1, at Ohio University in the district semifinals against the winner of Saturday’s Belpre vs. Crooksville game.

A big key for Chesapeake was the play of Adam Skeens off the bench. Skeens scored all eight of his points the first half including six in the second quarter.

"We weren’t getting anything going and then Skeens hit a bunch of big shots. He’s capable of doing that," Persin said. "The game was in the tempo we wanted and then Skeens and Gossett hit some clutch baskets. Everyone played their role well."

Aaron Gossett led the Panthers with 12 points and five rebounds while Nick Karle chipped added 11 points and eight rebounds. Brad Fulton grabbed seven rebounds.

Craig Lewis led Ironton (11-11) with 13 points and five rebounds. Josh Sands finished with nine points while Lutz hauled down eight rebounds.

Ironton (11-11) failed to get the ball inside to 6-foot-5 center Tommy Lutz and to make foul shots. Lutz scored just three points and Ironton was 1 of 9 from the foul line.

"Their zone defense is big and good," Ironton coach Chris Barnes said."We struggled against it.

"We were hoping that if we could get a two- or three-point lead, we could pull it out and hold the ball and force them to go man. But we could never get the lead."

Ironton lead throughout the first quarter. Derique Bacon had a layup at the 5:10 to make it 2-1 and Lewis hit a 3-pointer and it was 5-1.

Skeens hit a 15-footer but Lewis came up with a steal and layup for a 7-3 lead. Gossett’s baseline jumper with two seconds left made it 7-5 at the end of the quarter.

Gossett’s layup to open the second quarter tied the game. Skeens made a layup at the 6:48 mark and Chesapeake took the lead for good at 9-7.

Skeens hit back-to-back 15-footers and the Panthers were up 15-10. Lewis came back with a layup and Drew Mains sank an 8-footer and it was 15-14 at the half.

Chesapeake opened the second half with a 9-0 run for a 23-14 lead. Lewis drained a 3-pointer at the 4:52 mark to end the run. A layup by Lutz got Ironton within 27-22 with 3:07 on the clock, but a layup by Karle with 37 seconds left in the quarter gave Chesapeake a 29-22 lead.

Sands hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter and it was 29-25. The Panthers then outscored Ironton 6-1 to lead 35-26 with 5:21 left and Ironton could get no closer than 35-29 when Sands nailed a 3-pointer at the 3:55 mark.

Ironton 7 7 8 9 – 31

Chesapeake 5 10 14 13 – 42

IRONTON (11-11): Josh Sands 3-9 (3-7) 0-0 9, Drew Mains 1-10 (0-4) 0-0 2, Craig Lewis 5-9 (3-5) 0-2 13, Derique Bacon 1-6 (0-0) 0-0 2, Tommy Lutz 1-2 (0-0) 1-5 3, Andy Brown 1-2 (0-0) 0-0 2, Kevin Williams 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0, Ben Murphy 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0, Aaron Quinn 0-2 (0-1) 0-0 0. Totals: 12-40 (6-17) 1-9 31. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 10-16=26 (Lutz 8, Bacon 6, Lewis 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 6 (Mains 3). Steals: 6 (Sands 2, Lutz 2). Turnover: 14. FG% – 30. FT% – 35.3. 3pt% – 11.1.

CHESAPEAKE (15-5): Aaron Gossett 6-9 0-1) 0-1 12, Nick Karle 4-13 (0-0) 3-4 11, Brad Fulton 0-1 (0-0) 2-2 2, Tommie Hill 1-3 (1-3) 0-0 3, Matt Rucker 0-2 (0-0) 2-4 2, Luke Beach 0-0 (0-0) 0-0 0, Adam Skeens 4-5 (0-0) 0-0 8, Timmy Thacker 0-0 (0-0) 4-6 4. Totals: 15-33 (1-4) 11-17 42. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 8-18=26 (Karle 8, Fulton 7, Gossett 5). Team/deadball rebounds: None. Assists: 8 (Gossett 2, Karle 2). Steals: 10 (Karle 5, Gossett 2). Turnovers: 10. FG% – 45.5. FT% – 64.7. 3pt% – 25.