Panthers whip Warriors to reach district finals
ATHENS — During halftime of Sunday’s Division III district semifinal game, Chesapeake coach Ryan Davis gave his team two choices.
One, they could play better in the second half, get a win and get a chance to play in the district title game.
Two, they could continue their dismal effort and collect their uniforms on Monday.
Guess which one they picked?
The Panthers erased a 23-16 halftime deficit and held Eastern Brown to just 13 points in the second half as they rallied for a 46-36 win over the Warriors and earned a berth in the district title game.
“The first half was not very pretty. At halftime we said you have a choice to go play and have a chance to play again, or we don’t get that chance again.,” said Davis.
“That loosened up our movement and it was a little bit better. It seemed we got things just flowing a little bit. We got the ball to Brad (meadows). We didn’t get the ball to Brad very well in the first half I didn’t think. We got the ball to Brad a little bit and things opened up.”
Chesapeake (18-6) fell behind 9-0 to start the game and didn’t score until Gage Rhoades made two foul shot with 1:43 on the clock.
Rhoades then hit a baseline shot and a putback by Meadows with four seconds on the clock got the Panthers within 10-6.
Rhoades scored six more points in the second quarter and Casey McComas came off the bench to spark the defense and keep the Panthers within striking range at 19-16.
But a layup by Blake Rigdon and a 19-footer by Austin Doss put the Warriors up seven at the half.
“In the first half of the game, if Casey isn’t there we don’t even have a shot. Casey played tremendous in that first half. That brought us some energy, caused some stuff to start happening,” said Davis.
“Gage hit some shots for us, but in the second half it seemed like there was a lot more people who contributed to the whole thing. The first half it wasn’t that way. If we play both halves that way, maybe it’s a different game. Thank God we stepped up.”
The defense went to work and held the Warriors to just four points in the third quarter.
A 15-footer by Mickey Hundley put the Warriors up 27-20 with 5:47 left in the quarter, but Jake Stevens drained a triple and Meadows scored five points to give Chesapeake its first lead at 28-27 with 1:43 left in the quarter.
Austin Hutchison’s putback with 13 seconds left gave Chesapeake a 30-27 advantage.
“We played defense a little different in the second half. Probably the difference in the second half is we loosened up a little bit,” said Davis.
“It seemed like we got after it a little bit more and started getting some stuff happening for us on the offensive end a little bit better. We rebounded the ball out of different spots besides Brad the second half which helped. Jake hit a couple of shots for us.”
Meadows finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.
A putback by Nick Kelch and a layup by Charles Bellamy gave Eastern Brown its last lead at 34-33 with 2:55 left, but a 3-point play by Wesley Stephens put the Panthers head and Rhoades hit a baseline jumper and two foul shots for a 40-34 lead.
Stevens made a layup off a pass by Rhoades for a 42-36 lead and Stevens and Meadows added free throws to seal the win.
Kelch had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors (17-7). Bellamy added 11 points.
“Eastern is an overlooked team. They’re very well-coached and they guard you as hard as anybody you’re going to play. We finally got some stuff happening a little bit here and there. We got a few layups and a couple things on the break. Not a lot, but enough to extend a little bit of the lead,” said Davis.
Chesapeake will play Lucasville Valley at 8 p.m. on Saturday in the district finals at Ohio University.
E. Brown 10 13 4 9 = 36
Chesapeake 6 10 14 16 = 46
EASTERN BROWN (17-7): Blake Rigdon 1 0 0-0 2, Marcus Day 1 0 2-3 4, Nick Kelch 5 0 2-2 12, Charles Bellamy 4 1 0-0 11, Mickey Hundley 1 0 1-2 3, T.J. Stives 0 0 0-0 0, Mana Stivers 0 0 0-0 0, Austin Doss 2 0 0-0 4, Jacob Diener 0 0 0-0 0, Heath Unger 0 0 0-0 0, Gary Purdy 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15-46 5-7 46. 3-point goals: 1-14. Rebounds: 13-O, 21-D = 34 (Kelch 10, Day 9). Team rebounds: 7. Assists: 7 (Rigdon 3, Hundley 2). Steals: 4 (Hundley 2). Turnovers: 12. Blocks: 1 (Bellamy). Fouls: 14. Fouled out: None.
CHESAPEAKE (18-6): Jake Stevens 1 2 1-2 9, Kolton Webb 0 0 0-0 0, Gage Rhoades 5 0 4-4 14, Brad Meadows 5 0 4-9 14, Wes Stephens 1 0 1-1 3, Austin Hutchison 1 0 0-0 2, Casey McComas 1 0 0-0 2, Cole Mills 0 0 0-0 0, Kelton Jones 1 0 0-0 2, Ty Wilcoxon 0 0 0-0 0, Tanner Harr 0 0 0-0 0, Austin Browning 0 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-45 10-16 46. 3-point goals: 2-13. Rebounds: 11-O, 19-D = 30 (Meadows 8, Rhoades 4, Hutchison 4). Team rebounds: 4. Assists: 8 (Rhoades 4). Steals: 9 (McComas 4, Meadows 2). Turnovers: 8. Blocks: 2 (Stephens, Hutchison). Fouls: 10. Fouled out: None.