Pirates balance worries Chesy

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

Camden Miller’s ability to score both inside and out make him a big problem. His size makes him and even bigger problem.

Miller, the 6-foot-7 junior forward for the Wheelersburg Pirates, averages nearly 18 points a game. Those two facts have Chesapeake coach Norm Persin concerned.

“He makes for a tough matchup. He’s very versatile. All their kids are interchangeable,” Persin said.

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Chesapeake will try to solve the big problem Wednesday when the Panthers (21-2) play the Pirates (21-2) at 8 p.m. in the Division III regional semifinals at the Ohio University Convocation Center.

Added to the problem of stopping Miller, a deadly 3-point shooter, will be two other scoring threats.

Drew Spradlin, a 64 sophomore, is averaging 14.4 points a game while 6-1 junior Seth Cowgill scores at a 9.3 clip.

Also in the starting lineup are 6-4 junior Gary Salyers, 9.9 points per game, and 6-foot senior Nick Carrington, 7.6 points an outing and another 3-point shooting threat.

Off the bench are 6-2 junior Alex Prater inside while 5-7 Matt Jenkins and 6-foot sophomore Dustin Cook are backups at the guard position.

The offensive balance will be the focus of the Panthers preparation.

“I think we’ll match up better, but they are a little bigger. We strive to play good defense. When you get this far it’s about playing defense, rebounding and taking care of the basketball,” Persin said.

Chesapeake is not without its weapons. The Panthers have four players in double figures led by P.J. Rase with 17 points a game and Justin Porter at 14 points per contest. Porter had 23 points and Rase 21 in a 78-45 spanking of Adena in the district finals.

Brent Ransbottom, a 6-6 senior, and Jeffrey Thornburg, a 6-4 senior, average 10 points each. Mike Stapleton, the only junior in the starting lineup, averages 3.0 per game.

The winner will advance to the regional finals at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and will be considered the favorite to advance to the state tournament.

Persin said his team plans to take one game at a time and doesn’t overlook any team in the regional.

“When you get this far you’re going to play somebody good. Hopefully our senior leadership will take over,” Persin said.