By Gary R. Rasberry
ROCKFORD -- For a quarter, Parkway was playing St. Henry exactly how coach Rusty Allen wanted.
The Panthers used great ball control and defense to keep the Redskins in check in the first eight minutes of play. At the end of the quarter the scoreboard read St. Henry 6, Parkway 5.
But in the second quarter, shots St. Henry was missing early began to hit. Parkway began to lose the ball as the game became more fast-paced, which played in St. Henry's favor.
The end result was a Redskins 60-38 win over the Panthers at Panther Gymnasium on Tuesday to run their record to 10-2 and 3-1 in the MAC. Parkway falls to 2-10 and 0-5 in the conference.
The Redskins had a tough start to the game as the Panthers slowed the tempo and worked the St. Henry defense. The Redskins, however, were able to get points from the foul line as Jared Stammen and Toby Boeckman each swished a pair to give St. Henry the slim lead. "They were very deliberate," said St. Henry coach Joe Niekamp. "At the same time, we came down and got some pretty good looks. We didn't finish off. Whether they were outside shots or inside shots, we didn't finish off the way we needed to get off to the start we wanted."
But in the second quarter the Redskins began to turn things up. Kurt Huelsman had a little more breathing room after Parkway center Mark Snyder picked up two quick fouls. The 6-9 junior scored seven points in a span of 3:30 to help the Redskins jump out 14-7.
Snyder came back in and got the old-school three-point play with the hoop and harm. St. Henry came back with another small run to make it 20-10 then ended the half with a 7-2 run to take a comfortable 15-point lead at the break.
"Early on we came out and executed our game plan, in terms of tempo and style we wanted to play," said Allen. "We definitely didn't want to go up-and-down the floor with them. We wanted to control the ball a bit and force them to work harder on the defensive end (with the hopes of) maybe carrying over and frustrating them on the offensive end. I think for the most part we did that.
"I wish we were able to hit a few more shots in the first quarter. I think that was the key to the game. We missed opportunties," continued Allen.
In the second half, St. Henry was able to push the lead higher as Nate Stahl, who had five points at the half, hit a trio of treys in the final 16 minutes to finish up with 16 points.
"The last three quarters were huge," said coach Niekamp. "I know we heaped a little 10-12 point lead on them and I think that changed the complexion of the game a little bit. It picked up the pace a little and got them out of the way they wanted to play the game."
"The momentum swayed in that second quarter," said Allen. "We weren't able to weather the storm."
Huelsman and Boeckman each added 11 points in addition to Stahl's game-high total.
Snyder led Parkway with 14 and Jordan Heckler added 10.
Both teams return to MAC action on Friday. St. Henry hosts league co-leader Minster (with Delphos St. John's) at Redskin Gymnasium while the Panthers travel to Auglaize County to face New Bremen.