Panthers heat up in 4th quarter to whip Dragons

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

ATHENS - The game was a work of art, possibly a Picasso.

George Picasso, that is.

Although it might not have been a great performance, the Chesapeake Panthers aren't complaining after beating the North Adams Green Devils 43-39 Sunday to win the Division III district championship.

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"That was an ugly game," Chesapeake coach Norm Persin said. "It's been said that to make it through the tournament, you have one bad game that you have to play through. We've had two of them, so hopefully we'll play well in the next one."

Chesapeake, 22-1, will play again as they face Ironton at 8 p.m. Thursday in the regional semifinals at Ohio University. The Panthers will be seeking a measure of revenge since Ironton is the only team to beat them this season.

"We're just happy to be coming back. We have to play better. Any time you take a step in the tournament you have to play better," Persin said.

The Panthers defense was solid even if the offense was ugly. North Adams shot just 28.7 percent from the field and the Panthers Justin Porter held leading scorer Cory Copas to 13 points.

"Our defense kept us in the game. Porter is a good defensive player. Normally he does the job and he did it again," Persin said.

Senior Trent Finley spearheaded the defense. He had two key steals in the fourth quarter that the Panthers converted into points and he hit a clutch 3-pointer to help rally the Panthers from a 4-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

"I didn't want it to be my last game. It kind of possessed me," Finley said. "They had a lot of good ball pressure on us that made it hard for us to handle."

Chesapeake trailed 26-22 heading into the fourth quarter when P.J. Rase hit a 14-footer for the Panthers, but Matt Geeslin answered with a layup for the Devils. Finley knocked down a trifecta and then Brennan Hall followed up two straight missed shots. He was fouled on the second shot and made the free throw to give the Panthers a 32-28 lead with 4:12 left.

"They haven't played against a big guy who can block shots and change shots in the lane," Hall said. "The fourth quarter it seemed like we were a different team."

Finley hit the front end of a one-and-one and Hall sank two foul shots to make it 35-28. Justin Porter and Jeff Thornburg scored on two straight layups and a foul shot by Rase pushed the lead to 39-28 wtih2:36 to play.

The Devils stopped the run with a 3-pointer by Geeslin at the 1:34 mark and they used a 9-point spurt. But Finley hit a foul shot and Porter two more with 8 seconds left to secure the outcome.

Chesapeake had taken a 12-7 lead after the first quarter and it was 16-15 at the half.

The Green Devils took the lead at 17-16 to begin the third quarter and went up 26-20 with 58 seconds on the clock on a 3-pointer by Geeslin with 2:40 to go in the quarter. Rase hit two foul shots and cut the defidit .

Hall, Finley and Hall all had 9 points apiece to lead Chesapeake. Geeslin scored 15 and Cory Copas 13 to pace North Adams.


North Adams781113=39


Brennan Hall 3-10 3-3 9, Justin Porter 2-4 2-2 6, P.J. Rase 3-8 3-4 9, Trent Finley 3-10 2-4 9, Dustin O'Brien 1-1 0-0 2, Brent Ransbottom 2-3 0-0 4, Matt Whitmore 0-0 0-0 0, Jeff Thornburg 2-4 0-0 4, Caleb McComas 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 16-41


43. Fouls: 10. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 1-15 (Rase 0-5, Porter 0-1, Finley 1-6, Thornburg 0-2, McComas 0-1). Rebounds: 10-19=29 (Hall 7, Porter 7, Rase 5). Team/deadball rebounds: 5. Total rebounds: 34. Assists: 5 (Finley 3, Rase 2). Steals: 5 (Finley 2). Turnovers: 14. FG% – 39. FT% – 76.9. 3pt% – 0.7.


Drew Copas 2-10 0-0 5, Eric Semple 0-2 2 2 2, Cory Copas 4-15 4-4 13, Kyle Hughes 1-6 0-0 2, Tyler Hickey 0-2 0-0 0, Matt Geeslin 6-11 1-1 15, Ian Eldridge 0-2 0-0 0, Ryan Under 1-2 0-0 2. Totals: 14-50


39. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None. 3-point goals: 4-14 (D. Copas 1-6, C. Copas 1-3, Geeslin 2-5). Rebounds: 8-11=19 (Hughes 6, Geeslin 6). Team/deadball rebounds: 6. Total rebounds: 25. Assists: 5 (D. Copas 3). Steals: 8 (Geeslin 2, C. Copas 2). Turnovers: 8. FG% – 28.7. FT% – 100. 3pt% – 28.6.