STRYKER GUARD … Mateo Villanueva tries to drive baseline against the Archer defense in the second half. (PHOTO BY JACOB KESSLER, STAFF)
By: Nate Calvin
DEFIANCE – No 10 seed Stryker knew that had a monumental challenge in front of them as they faced No. 3 in the state and top seeded Antwerp in the Division IV district semifinals.
And in the opening quarter, the Panthers were up to the challenge as they trailed just 12-8 after the opening frame.
From there it was all Antwerp as they outscored Stryker 35-7 over the final three quarters and cruised to a 47-15 victory.
Early on it appeared Antwerp was going to be able to put it on cruise control all night as after steals and layups by Landon Brewer and Kaden Recker it was 10-2 Archers with 6:26 left in the first quarter.
The Panthers though would right the ship scoring six of the last eight points in the quarter with two buckets by Peyton Cioffi and a field goal from Elijah Juillard to cut the Antwerp lead to 12-8.
The Panthers continued to close the gap as Teyvon Harris buried a triple from the right wing to end a long first possession of the second quarter for Stryker and cut the deficit to 12-11.
Antwerp’s Jagger Landers then took over with a bucket at the 4:05 mark, their first points of the quarter, to make it 14-11.
Landers would then add two field goals and two free throws as he scored all nine of Antwerp’s points in the quarter to help the Archers build a 21-11 lead at halftime.
Michael Donovan opened the scoring in the third with a bucket for Stryker, which turned out to be their only points of the quarter as Antwerp went on an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 29-13.
Antwerp would step on the gas in the fourth quarter as series of missed shots and turnovers by Stryker led to numerous transition baskets for Antwerp as they ended the game with 14 straight points.
After going just 9/29 (31%) from the field in the first three quarters, the Archers were 8/14 (57%) in the final stanza and outrebounded the Panthers 11-0 to finish the game with a 31-13 advantage on the glass.
Landers fronted Antwerp with 19 points, 14 of those coming in the first half.
The Panthers (11-13) were 7/32 (21%) shooting with 18 turnovers and were topped in scoring by Cioffi and Juillard with four points each.
STRYKER 8 3 2 2 – 15
ANTWERP 12 9 8 18 – 47
Nate can be reached at email@example.com