Mixed Signals

Published 2:59 am Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It’s a game of contrast.

The Chesapeake Panthers are the ying to the Lima Central Catholic Thunderbirds’ yang. Those contrasting styles will try to will their way past the other in the Division III state tournament semifinals at 10:45 a.m. Thursday in the Schottenstein Center.

The two teams have used their styles to achieve identical 21-4 records. Chesapeake uses only six players while the Thunderbirds aren’t afraid to dig down deep on their bench.

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“They have a lot a nice players and they have a lot of size. But we’re looking forward to playing,” said Panthers’ coach Ryan Davis.

Chesapeake relies on the guard tandem of junior Nathan Copley and sophomore Austin McMaster. Copley has scored at a 19.1 clip while McMaster averages 15.4 points a game.

Adding to the offense are Colin Kennedy with a 10.1 average and Trent Saunders who averages 9.0 points and 10.0 rebounds.

Peter Hintz (5.1 ppg) is the point guard and Colton Lindsey (3.3 ppg) is the only player who gets any time off the bench.

Lima Catholic utilizes a balanced offense led by Ty O’Connor and Desi Kirkman who average 12.0 and 11.2 points a game, respectively.

Sam Stolly (8.2), Bubba Krieg (7.5) and Jon Steiger (6.8) round out the starting lineup.

However, the Thunderbirds will use several players off the bench led by Austin Stolly — 7.3 points a game — and Billy Taflinger.

There are other bits of information that show opposites attract, but there are some similarities as well.

This is Chesapeake’s first trip to the state tournament. Lima Catholic is making its sixth trip in the past 22 seasons.

Davis is in only his third season as the Panthers head coach and ninth overall. Davis has a 55-15 record at Chesapeake and 137-68 overall. He coached three years in Indiana and three years at Peebles before coming to Chesapeake.

Lima Catholic head coach Bob Seggerson is in his 32nd season and has a record of 515-209.

Each team has beaten a ranked team during its tournament run. Chesapeake downed No. 9-ranked Ironton in the regional finals while Lima Catholic bounced top-ranked Liberty Benton in the district semifinals.

Neither Chesapeake of Lima Catholic were ranked in the final Associated Press poll.