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Panthers beat Dragons to clinch share of OVC title

Chesapeake Panthers' Brandon Noble (24) takes a shot over Fairland's Ryan Wooten during Friday's Ohio Valley Conference game. The Panthers beat the Dragons 59-47 to clinch the OVC championship. (The Ironton Tribune / Tony Shotsky of Southern Ohio Sports Photos.com)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

 

PROCTORVILLE — The third time was charming for the Chesapeake Panthers.

The Panthers beat the Fairland Dragons for the third time this season 59-47 on Friday, and with the win they clinched at least a share of a third straight Ohio Valley Conference championship under Ryan Davis.

Fairland is 13-4 overall and 6-2 in the league. One of their three losses was to Chesapeake in the Huntington St. Joe Invitational.

“It was good to see us play with poise and not freak out when we got down by one (at the end of the third quarter),” said Davis. “If you take care of the ball and make free throws you usually win games. We did those things tonight.”

But winning the title wasn’t easy. Chesapeake needed a big fourth quarter to rally from that one-point deficit in the third quarter.

Foul shooting played a key role in the outcome. The Panthers converted 24 of 31 attempts while Fairland only managed to make 6 of 19 attempts.

“We always seem to do something to shoot ourselves in the foot,” said Fairland coach Nathan Speed. “The last time we played them we had 21 turnovers. This time we were six of 19 at the foul line.”

Eric Kennedy led Chesapeake with 17 points. Javon Thompson scored 14 and Austin McMaster added 11.

Evan Maddox scored 16 and Blaine Fuller 15 for the Dragons. Leading scorer Evan Salyers was the target of the Panthers’ defense and was limited to 9 points.

“We front (Salyers) and tried to deny him the ball. We got some help on him. We did a good job, but not the best in other areas,” said Davis.

Chesapeake held a 17-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.

McMaster and Salyers matched each other with 9 points in the second quarter and the Panthers held a 30-25 halftime advantage.

Fairland outscored the Panther 13-7 in the third quarter to go up 38-37.

But the Panthers held the Dragons to only 9 points in the fourth quarter while making 17 of 19 free throws in the quarter — they had just two field goals — to generate the comeback.

Chesapeake 17 13 7 22 = 59

Fairland 11 14 13 9 = 47

CHESAPEAKE (15-1, 8-0): Patrick Hintz 1 0 4-4 6, Eric Kennedy 1 2 9-10 17, Trey Noble 0 1 4-4 7, Javon Thompson 3 1 5-6 14, Austin McMaster 3 1 2-7 11, Chad Meadows 2 0 0-0 4. Totals: 10 5 24-31 59.

FAIRLAND (13-4, 6-2): Eric Riley 1 0 0-0 2, Evan Maddox 5 1 3-9 16, Blaine Fuller 7 0 1-5 15, Nathan Campbell 0 0 1-2 1, Evan Salyers 4 0 1-3 9, Ryan Wooten 2 0 0-0 4. Totals: 19 1 6-19 47.