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Panthers#8217; furious rally brings win for fallen fan

CHESAPEAKE — There was more at stake than a basketball game. There was a friendship to uphold.

A few days ago, the Chesapeake Panthers No. 1 fan Trevor Willis died at the age of 22. Trevor was confined to a wheelchair but never missed a game over the past 15 season.

Members of the Panther team decided to dedicate not only Tuesday’s game against Winfield but the rest of the season to their friend and fan.

Trailing 49-38 after three quarters, senior Mike Stapleton took charge in the team huddle.

“We were really lethargic at first and Winfield came out and didn’t miss. We didn’t react to anything early,” said Chesapeake coach Bryan Wells.

“But we hung and hung, and then Stapleton grabbed them and said, ‘This one is for Trevor and we’re not losing it.’”

They didn’t.

In true “Win One for the Gipper” fashion, the Panthers tied the game and went on to beat Winfield 64-59 in overtime.

Winfield came into the game 8-2 and ranked No. 9 in West Virginia’s Class AA. The Wolfpack led by 10 points with 3:58 left in regulation.

After a pair of free throws, Kyle Rase made a layup and Jonathan Greene converted a pivotal 3-point play to tie the game.

Stapleton took over with 8 points as Chesapeake outscored Winfield 14-3 in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 52-52 and force overtime.

In overtime, the Panthers were 4 of 7 from the foul line and Greene scored 5 points as the Panthers got the win.

“Our defense really picked it up in the fourth quarter. We held (Caleb) Ashley to no points in the fourth quarter, so that was big,” said Wells.

Ashley, who had 21 points for the game, was guard by Stapleton in the fourth quarter.

Stapleton led the Panthers (4-8) with 22 points and 3 steals. Rase had 13 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists. Greene also had 13 points.

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WINFIELD (8-3): Sam Leemmeeman 1 0 0-0 2, Todd Hutchinson 6 0 0-2 12, John Campbell 2 1 2-4 9, Tony McCutchen 0 0 0-0 0, Caleb Ashley 6

3

0-0 21, Cody Schuller 0 0 2-2 2, Zach Williams 2 0 0-1 4, Christian Powers 0 0 0-0 0, Derek Buckner 4 0 1-3 9, Adam Kline 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-52

5-12

59. 3-point goals: 4-15. Fouls: 14. Fouled out: Campbell.

CHESAPEAKE (4-8): Brian Ross 0 0 0-0 0, Aaron Ross 1 1 1-2 6, Mike Stapleton 10 0 4-6 22, Marty Clay 1 0 0-0 2, Matt Angle 0 0 0-0 0, Kyle Rase 5 0 3-4 13, Laurnet Alexandre 0 0 0-0 0, Aaron Donohoe 2 0 0-0 4, Joe Riley 0 0 0-0 0, Kyle Webb 0 0 0-0 0, Jonathan Greene 6 0 1-1 13, Caleb Freeman 0 0 0-0 0, Allen Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Jeremy Reaper 1 0 0-0 2, Travis Zimmerman 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 27-48

9-13

64. 3-point goals: 1-7. Fouls: 13. Fouled out: None. Rebounds: 5-19=24 (Rase 9, Donohoe 6). Assists: 24 (Rase 10). Steals: 4 (Stapleton 3). Turnovers: 17.