(January 17th, 2015) – STRYKER: The packed crowd in the Stryker gym had more than just Homecoming to celebrate as the Panthers hosted Montpelier on Saturday night.
With a performance that can only be described as efficient, the Stryker boys derailed the visiting Locomotives throughout the course of the Panthers’ Homecoming game. By game’s end, Stryker triumphed over their North Western Ohio Athletic League opponent in convincing fashion, 61-37.
Opening the contest strong, the Panther boys found themselves evenly matched with the Locos. Late into the first quarter, however, Stryker had pulled ahead 13-8. Also outscoring Montpelier in the second period, albeit by a mere 3 points, Stryker laid claim to a 25-17 lead at the half.
Montpelier had its strongest defensive effort in the third quarter, holding their Buckeye Border Conference (BBC) foes to just 10 points. The Locos were able to match that total, also putting up 10 points in the period. Still within 8 points of Stryker, Montpelier looked to close the gap in the fourth quarter.
That’s not what happened, however.
Instead, the Panthers closed out the game fiercely. Exploding for 26 points in the game’s final period, the hometown boys of Stryker showed no mercy in their assault on the Locos. Montpelier couldn’t keep pace with the Panthers’ scoring, only managing 10 points down the stretch. That extra 16 points added to Stryker’s cushion gave them the 24 point victory.
A major factor in the Stryker win was turnovers. The Panthers turned the ball over just 9 times in the entire contest. Montpelier, meanwhile, committed 15 turnovers. Those six extra chances at the basket could have produced between 12 and 15 points for Stryker that Montpelier wouldn’t even have an opportunity to match.
The free throw line played a significant role for Stryker as well. Montpelier was 6 for 13 from the line. Not only is that less than a fifty percent success rate, but 13 extra point attempts isn’t exactly a large number. The Locos could have been more aggressive with the basketball.
Like Stryker was, for example. Their aggression earned them 28 shots from the charity stripe, 19 of which they made. They made 6 more shots than Montpelier even attempted. Even if the Locos had made one hundred percent of their free throws, they still would have scored 6 less points from the line than the Panthers.
And, to put it simply, Stryker just made more shots than Montpelier. The Locomotives combined to make 15 field goals against a stingy Panther defense. Stryker knocked down 20 field goals in the game, two of which were from beyond the arc. Montpelier had just 1 three in the contest.
More than anything, though, it was Parker Ruffer who made the difference in this game. The senior gave a herculean effort on his team’s behalf, scoring 30 points. Fellow senior Tanner Clingaman added 11 points to the victory effort. Teammate Brannan Woolace contributed 7 points as well.
Montpelier was led by senior Alex Matzinger, who attacked the rim hard to earn 11 points. Kyrin Schuman, another Loco, had 7 points. Sophomore standout Michael Blake put up 6 points in the loss also.
Stryker’s win over Montpelier puts them at 5-5 for the season. Their BBC record is still 3-1, as this was a non-conference game.