By LYLE KITTLE
ROCKFORD — Van Wert torched Parkway in the first quarter,
grabbing a 20-point lead en route to a 65-36 non-conference
win at Rockford on Friday night.
B.J. Knapke and John Moonshower led a balanced attack for the
Cougars (2-0) with 12 points each. Chad Sapp led all scorers
with 14 points for the Panthers (0-2).
The Panthers enjoyed their only lead of the night at 3-2, following
a three-pointer by Sapp. Three Parkway turnovers helped the
Cougars build a 9-3 early on. Parkway got an inside score from
Mark Snyder before Van Wert blew it open with an 18-point run.
“We wanted to put pressure on both ends of the floor,”
Van Wert coach Dave Froelich said. “We pushed it pretty
hard and got some good looks and some easy baskets. That gets
your legs going defensively and I thought we were able to create
some things off that.”
A three-point play by Knapke sparked the run and Kyle Heppeard
added a three-pointer as the Cougars pushed their lead to 27-5.
Sapp added a two-pointer at the buzzer to make the first quarter
“I think it was just poor shot selection,” Parkway
coach Rusty Allen said of the Panthers’ first-quarter
performance. “We wanted to be patient and control the
tempo because we knew they were going to want to get out and
run. We had some open looks where we rushed the shot. We got
open and just threw it up there.”
The Cougars went on a 15-3 run to open the second period, getting
a long range three from Rick Ditto and two baskets inside from
Knapke to stretch the lead to 42-10.
Parkway finished the second quarter with five free throws and
went into the locker room at halftime trailing, 42-15.
Van Wert got five points to open the second half on a basket
by Kyle Holliday and a three-pointer from Kyle Heppeard to increase
the lead to 47-15. The Panthers turned the ball over seven times
in eight possessions, getting only a three-point basket from
Jacob Long as the Cougars widened the gap even more with two
baskets - one of those a three-pointer - from Jake Strick. Sapp’s
three-pointer on the last possession of the period cut Van Wert’s
lead to 54-23.
“We didn’t do a good job of jamming the rebounder,”
Allen said. “That let them get out and run and push the
ball on us. When we were able to get down court and slow them
down and make a half court game of it, I was pretty satisfied
with our defense.”
Parkway outscored Van Wert in the fourth quarter, but it was
far too little and much too late at that point, as the Cougars
stayed unbeaten with the 65-36 win.
“We didn’t do things the same way in the second
half,” Froelich said. “We went to a straight man-to-man
and in the first half we trapping and doing some other things
to take them out away from the basket.”
“I wasn’t worried about the kids playing hard after
that first quarter,” Allen said. “I was concerned
with how hard they could play for three more quarters. A quarter
like the first can take something out of a team, but we battled
back against Wayne Trace and we kept battling tonight.”
Parkway remains at home tonight, hosting Ansonia in a bid for
its first victory of the year.