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Panthers top West Union to reach district finals

Chesapeake Panthers’ guard Levi Blankenship (4) drives for two points against West Union. The Panthers won, 53-50 in the Division III district semifinals Saturday at Ohio University’s Convocation Center. (Courtesy of Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

ATHENS, Ohio — And the beat goes on…
The improbable tournament run of the young Chesapeake Panthers continued on Saturday as they beat the West Union Dragons 53-50 in the Division III district semifinals at Ohio University’s Convocation Center.
Despite not having a senior on the team and suffering 10 regular season losses, the Panthers have come to life with a third straight tournament win.
“We played well. Our young kids are starting to get better,” said Panthers’ coach Ryan Davis. “But it gets tougher each step.”
The Panthers (15-10) will now play Adena (18-6) at 6 p.m. next Saturday in the district finals at the Convocation Center. Adena beat Ironton 43-36 in the other semifinal game.
Eli Archer scored a game-high 17 points to lead Chesapeake. Levi Blankenship added 10 points as eight different players scored.
Bowan Tomlin had 15 points, Conner Campbell 14 and Ryan Rothwell 12 for West Union (14-12).
West Union jumped out to a 13-7 lead as Rothwell hit a pair of 3-pointers.
But Archer scored five points while Tylan Hutchison and Nathan Cox had four points each in the second quarter as the Panthers rallied to take a 23-20 halftime lead.
Tomlin scored four of the Dragons’ seven points in the quarter.
Chesapeake extended the lead to 40-35 after the third quarter as Archer scored four points to lead five different players who scored in the third quarter.
Rothwell score six points for West Union.
In the fourth quarter, Archer had six points, Trent Dearth got five of his seven points and Blankenship four points.
The Panthers were 7-of-8 at the foul line in the quarter as Dearth went 3-for-4 and both Archer and Blankenship 2-for-2.
Tomlin tried to rally the Dragons scored eight points including a pair of 3-pointers.
Chesapeake 7 16 17 13 = 53
West Union 13 7 15 15 = 50
CHESAPEAKE (15-10): Travis Grim 2 0 0-2 4, Nathan Cox 2 0 0-0 4, Levi Blankenship 2 1 3-3 10, Austin Jackson 1 1 0-0 5, Josh Cox 1 0 0-0 2, Trent Dearth 2 0 3-4 7, Tylan Hutchison 2 0 0-0 4, Eli Archer 7 0 3-5 17. Totals: 19 2 9-14 53. Fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.
WEST UNION (14-12): Ryan Rothwell 3 2 0-0 12, Cameron Campbell 0 0 0-0 0, Brycen Staten 0 0 1-2 1, Clayton Madden 2 0 2-2 6, Bowan Tomlin 3 3 0-0 15, Conner Campbell 1 2 6-8 14, Zane Kingsolver 1 0 0-0 2. Totals: 10 7 9-12 50. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.