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Rebounds rally Panthers

CHESAPEAKE — Patience was a big key for the Chesapeake Panthers.

And rebounding.

Led by 6-foot-6 Colin Kennedy and 6-3 Trent Saunders, the Panthers dominated the boards as they beat the Fairland Dragons 63-48 Wednesday in an Ohio Valley Conference game.

Fairland took a 12-point lead early only to have the Panthers battle back and take control of the game over the next three quarters.

“This is a big rivalry and they came out hot and playing hard,” said Chesapeake coach Ryan Davis.

“But we stuck with our game plan and did a good job limiting them to one shot. We started to pound the boards pretty good and we got a lot of offensive rebounds that we converted.”

Kennedy scored a game-high 18 points and Saunders added 11 points and eight rebounds. Austin McMaster scored 16 points and Nathan Copley scored 13 as Chesapeake improved to 4-3 overall and 3-0 in the OVC.

Chad Fisher had a game-high 23 points to lead the Dragons (3-5, 1-2). Evan Salyers added 14 points.

“We played with high energy in the first quarter but we couldn’t sustain it for the next three quarters,” said Fairland coach John McClung.

“The kids battled great and tried to make a run. We just gave up way too many second and third shots.”

Fisher got Fairland off to its big start as he scored 12 points in the first quarter to give the Dragons a 22-10 lead.

Kennedy and Saunders began scoring inside as the Panthers outscored the Dragons 22-6 in the second quarter to take a 32-28 halftime lead.

The inside pounding continued in the second half as the Panthers began to pull away. They led 51-42 after three quarters and put the game away in the fourth quarter.

“I think we just lost our legs. We need to be in better shape for the better teams. You can beat some teams with lesser conditioning, but we have to work harder and be in better shape to stay with the elite teams,” said McClung.

Fairland 22 6 14 6 = 48

Chesapeake 10 22 19 12 = 63

FAIRLAND (3-5,1-2): Chad Fisher 23, Matt Bloomfield 0, Eric Riley 4, Jonathan Holbrook 2, Evan Salyers 14, Matt Campbell 5.

CHESAPEAKE (4-3, 3-0): Peter Hintz 2, Nathan Copley 13, Colton Lindsey 2, Austin McMaster 16, Trent Saunders 11, Colin Kennedy 18.