Parkway falls short to Jays; Cavs
By GARY R. RASBERRY
ELIDA — Those in attendance were treated to close games
at the Division III boys basketball sectional on Tuesday at
the Elida Fieldhouse as the winners of the semifinals won by
a combined 12 points.
The nightcap was the shocker of the tournament as 1-19 Parkway
stayed close with St. John’s all evening before losing
53-47 to end its season. The Panthers pulled down more rebounds
(35-33) and had a better shooting percentage (36 percent to
33 percent) but saw St. John’s have a short hot spell
in the second quarter to come away with the win.
In the first game, Coldwater blew a 10-point lead in the fourth
quarter but recovered to beat Spencerville 63-57 to advance
to a rematch on Friday against rival St. Henry.
St. John’s 53, Parkway 47
As has been the case most of the season, Parkway put together
three strong quarters against the Blue Jays, but one small stretch
in the second quarter did in the Panthers.
Both teams started out cold as neither team could score for
the first 3:20 of the second quarter. That changed quickly as
Jeff Unterbrink hit back-to-back three-pointers within a span
of 87 seconds to make a 12-11 Panther lead turn into a 17-12
St. John’s lead. With two minutes left, Matt Webb added
a trey to push it to 20-12 as Parkway coach Rusty Allen called
Webb went back to work after the break with a three-pointer
to make it 23-12 before the Panthers finally scored with 40
seconds left in the half. All 15 St. John’s points in
the quarter came from behind the three-point arc.
“We tried to mix things up on them, but that was their
hot streak,” said Allen. “That’s what put
them over the top tonight. That’s kinda been the story
of our season. We get down 10-12, then we fight back and fight
Good thing for St. John’s that they were hitting the long
ball as the Blue Jays were 8-of-17 from behind the three-point
line but just 1-of-8 from in front of the line.
“We were struggling mightily,” said St. John’s
coach Brett Norris. “We had a good stretch coming at the
end of the half. We got some wide-open shots. We got that little
run to get the gap that we needed.”
The hot hand that ended the first half turned into the cold
shoulder for the rest of the game as the Blue Jays shot 30 percent
(6-of-20) the rest of the game, including just one more three-pointer
in 12 attempts in the second half.
That allowed the Panthers, who trailed 26-16 at the half, to
come back slowly through the rest of the game. Parkway cut it
to 38-32 at the end of three quarters.
Parkway kept chugging away at the deficit and with 6:26 left
in the game a three-pointer from Jordan Heckler put the Panthers
within three points at 40-37. This time, Norris called timeout.
After the break, Webb drove to the hoop and scored after getting
fouled to push the lead back up to 43-37 with the made free
throw. That sparked the Blue Jays to push the lead back up to
49-37 with 1:48 left before a last-chance run by Parkway got
it back down to single digits.
“There’s no such thing as an easy tournament game,”
said Norris. “I think anybody who makes those statements
are crazy. I don’t care what their record is, it’s
a different ballgame. It was to our advantage to play tonight.
We didn’t play especially well but you have to give credit
to a group of kids that struggled all season and they were here
and fought us tough.”
“We had our chances down the stretch,” said Allen.
“I’ve been real pleased with our effort all season.
... You don’t like to go out with a loss, but unless you’re
the Division III state champion, only one team is going to win.”
Webb finished with 18 to pace the Blue Jays and Ryan Patton
Parkway was led by Chad Sapp’s 10 points while Justin
Hamrick came off the bench for nine points.
St. John’s plays Lima Central Catholic in a rematch of
the game which was won by the Thunderbirds earlier this season.
Coldwater 63, Spencervile 57.
The first words Don Vogt said to his team after the Cavaliers
held off the Bearcats were simple.
“I told them that was one of the first games where I saw
the kids actually playing like they were going to refuse to
lose instead of being shaky,” said Vogt as the Cavaliers
improve to 9-12 with the win. “We’ve done that a
couple of times and it’s come back to hurt us. I’m
glad they picked this game to step it up.”
The Cavaliers led by 12 points at the start of the fourth quarter,
only to see the Bearcats (14-7) come back and tie the game at
53-53 on an Isaac Bowers three-pointer. Vogt called a timeout
with 2:43 left to settle things down and the Cavaliers responded
by scoring five straight points — all at the foul line
— in a span of 1:25 to go up 58-53.
All the Bearcats could counter with in the final minute was
a free throw and a three-pointer from freshman Logan Nourse.
“I told them to keep playing defense,” said Vogt
on the timeout. “They were doing so well as far as being
intense, taking things away from (Spencerville), checking out
and holding them to just one shot. I told them to keep playing
It was a mix of a strong bench game for the Cavaliers and Craig
Koesters’ personal effort to refuse to lose.
The Cavalier senior was 11-of-17 from the floor on the night
to lead all players with 27 points. Koesters also pulled down
seven rebounds and had several big defensive stops.
“That 27-point performance was outstanding for that senior,”
The bench also played a big role for the Cavaliers. Vogt was
able to go a little deeper into his bench than he did during
the season, allowing Chad Miller and Mike Lefeld to get in a
little earlier than usual. Lefeld came up big hitting a first-half
three-pointer but made a bigger impact with two free throws
with 1:18 left in the game that put the Cavaliers up five.
“Mike (five points) did a nice job offensively and defensively
after that first free throw (a miss of a one-and-bonus in the
first half),” said Vogt with a grin. “He admitted
he was a little nervous. Brandon Bettinger (six points, four
rebounds) did a nice job, playing a position he’s not
nessecarily used to (down in the post). He did a nice job down
Spencerville had trouble at the line all evening, making just
seven in 17 attempts, off-setting a decent night from the field
“Good teams make free throws down the stretch and we did
not,” said Bearcat coach Kevin Sensabaugh. “I thought
we got good efforts from a couple of different guys but just
not a solid team effort. Coldwater did a much better job on
the boards than we did (34 to 27), but we did play hard and
fought back into it. We tried our butts off to get back into
Nourse and Eli Waltz each scored 15 to lead Spencerville while
Bowers finished with 10.
Coldwater ticket sales: Tickets for Friday’s game with
St. Henry at Elida will be on sale through Friday from 8 a.m.
to 3:30 p.m. in the high school office and on sale tonight from
6 to 7 p.m. in the Commons.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $4 for students with all tickets
at the door $5. There will be a charge for parking at Elida
and doors open at 5:15 p.m.