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Clutch plays rally Panthers past Belpre

ATHENS, Ohio – The Chesapeake Panthers spent almost the entire game trying to get their offense in gear.

Sunday, March 03, 2002

ATHENS, Ohio – The Chesapeake Panthers spent almost the entire game trying to get their offense in gear. Then, in the closing minutes, they kept popping the clutch.

Clutch shots, that is.

Down as many as nine points the fourth quarter and six with a minute to play, Chesapeake came up with some clutch plays and rallied to nip the Belpre Eagles 46-45 in the Division III district semifinals.

Luke Beach hit a clutch basket to put Chesapeake ahead 44-43 with 35 seconds left, but Pat Klein drove right down the court for a layup 11 seconds later and Belpre had the lead.

Nick Karle then drove the right side near the lane, stopped at about eight feet away and banked in his shot to put Chesapeake ahead 46-45 with seven seconds remaining.

"The play was supposed to go to another guy, but he wasn’t open so I decided to go to the hole," Karle said.

A final shot by Kyle Holbert from 15 feet bounced off the back of the rim at the buzzer and the Panthers had pulled out the comeback win.

"We had a lot of big plays down the stretch," Panthers coach Norm Persin said. "Luke Beach had the big one. He got us in position to win. Karle wanted the ball the second half and hit the big shot that won it."

Belpre (15-7) had utilized a triangle-and-two the first half in an effort to limit Chesapeake leading scorer Aaron Gossett and Karle. The defense went to a box-and-one the second half as the focus remained on Gossett, and that allowed Karle to score 13 of his 17 points the second half including 10 the fourth quarter.

The gimmick defenses left players wide-open for shots, but the Panthers couldn’t connect as they made just 7 of 29 shots the first half and 20 of 57 (35.1 percent) for the game.

"Our other guys were frozen. The couldn’t hit anything," Persin said. "But we did a good job defensively and on the boards. Karle has a nose for the ball. He’s our best offensive rebounder. And (Brad) Fulton did a great job on (Nick) Morey. He held him to three points."

Karle had nine of Chesapeake’s 26 rebounds, six on the offensive end. Gossett finished with 10 points.

Morey, a 6-foot-6 All-Ohio senior center, came into the game averaging 17.8 points and 13 rebounds. He finished with only three points but 14 rebounds.

Klein had 15 points and Kyle Holbert made four 3-pointers for 12 points.

Neither team shot the ball well the first half as Belpre took a 20-14 halftime as Klein scored the final eight points of the half.

Chesapeake was within 29-25 on a 15-footer by Adam Skeens at the 4:37 mark, but the Panthers did not score the rest of the quarter and Belpe went up 34-25 on a 3-pointer by Holbert and layup by Klein.

The Eagles were up 38-29 on a layup by Morey with 5:35 to play. Chesapeake got a steal and layup by Gossett and Karle followed up a missed shot to make it 41-37.

Brian Adams sank two foul shots with 1:05 left to put Belpre up 43-37. Karle made a layup with 46 seconds left and Gossett was shoved in the back for an intentional foul that put him at the line where he made both shots and it was 43-41.

Chesapeake stole the inbounds pass at halfcourt and Beach drove for a layup, was fouled and converted the free throw for the lead. Klein and Karle then traded layups to settle the outcome.

Chesapeake will play Wheelersburg at 4:15 p.m. Saturday at Ohio University in the district finals. Wheelersburg whipped Paint Valley 60-38 as Andrew Burleson scored 23 points.

Chesapeake 6 8 11 21 – 46

Belpre 9 11 14 11 – 45

CHESAPEAKE (16-5): Aaron Gossett 3-8 (0-0) 4-6 10, Nick Karle 8-14 (1-1) 0-0 17, Brad Fulton 0-2 (0-0) 0-0 0, Tommie Hill 0-10 (0-6) 0-0 0, Matt Rucker 3-6 (0-0) 0-2 6, Timmy Thacker 1-8 (0-4) 0-0 2, Adam Skeens 4-7 (0-0) 0-0 8, Luke Beach 1-2 (0-0) 1-1 3. Totals: 20-57 (1-11) 5-9 46. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 12-14=26 (Karle 9, Rucker 6, Fulton 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 4. Assists: 6 (Thacker 3). Steals: 5 (Gossett 3). Turnovers: 7. FG% – 35.1. FT% – 55.6. 3pt% – 0.9.

BELPRE (15-7): Brian Adams 1-3 (0-0) 2-2 4, Kyle Holbert 4-6 (4-6) 0-0 12, Pat Klein 5-9 (2-3) 3-4 15, Nick Hamilton 0-2 (0-1) 0-0 0, Nick Morey 2-6 (0-0) 2-4 6, Abe Herringshaw 1-3 (0-0) 0-0 2, Tyler Alkire 0-1 (0-0) 0-0 0, Nate Eaton 1-2 (0-1) 2-4 4, Ed Updike 1-1 (0-0) 0-0 0. Totals: 15-33 (6-11) 9-14 45. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 4-21=25 (Morey 14). Team/deadball rebounds: 1. Assists: 6 (Morey 2, Holbert 2). Steals: 7 (Morey 3, Klein 3). Turnovers: 13. FG% – 45.5. FT% – 64.3. 3pt% – 54.5.