(March 4th, 2015) – PAULDING: The opening round of Sectionals pitted Buckeye Border Conference power Stryker against a very much underrated Patrick Henry team from the North Western Ohio Athletic League. The contest pushed both squads to the limit, as it was close throughout.
Someone had to win, however, and that victor happened to be the Panthers, who took down the Patriots 58-52.
The first quarter set the tone for the entire game. With the two sides engaged in a back and forth affair, the period ended in an 11-11 tie. Patrick Henry was able to gain just a small amount of separation in the second frame, outscoring the Panther boys 14-11. At the half, Stryker faced a 25-22 deficit.
Coming out of the locker room, the Stryker defense continued to struggle in their efforts to slow down Patrick Henry. Even with the Panther offense offering up 14 points in the third period, the Patriots were still able to tack 3 more points onto their lead with a 17 point showing. Heading into the fourth stanza, the boys from Stryker trailed 42-36.
But that last frame would belong to the Panthers. With a colossal effort from senior big man Parker Ruffer, they were able to add 22 points to their total. The team stepped up defensively as well, holding the potent Patriot offense to just 10 points. This secured the 6 point victory for Stryker.
It’s worth noting that both squads were incredibly efficient with the ball. Patrick Henry turned the ball over a mere 6 times. The Panthers were able to best that, however, only committing a pair of turnovers for the complete duration of the game.
While several players performed admirably for Stryker, this game was all about Parker Ruffer, particularly in the third and fourth quarters. Putting up 32 points in the contest, 20 of them came in the second half. Even though he hit a triple, it was his sheer dominance in the paint that allowed the Panther boys to take over the final period.
Senior guard Brannan Woolace didn’t take many shots. Yet that selective nature paid off, as he contributed a solid 9 points to the Stryker effort, including an important three that helped his team to keep pace with Patrick Henry during a critical juncture in the matchup.
Tanner Clingaman also played a major role in keeping the Panthers in the game. He scored 8 points in the win.