Indians’ furious rally stuns Panthers

by Greg Ceilley of The Review Staff


JAKE STEINHARDT of Plymouth looks for an open teammate while being pressured by Berlin’s Lucas Gravunder in Friday’s ECC basketball game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley JAKE STEINHARDT of Plymouth looks for an open teammate while being pressured by Berlin’s Lucas Gravunder in Friday’s ECC basketball game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH – The Berlin Indians outscored Plymouth 36-11 in the final 10 minutes to hand the Panthers a shocking 66-57 defeat in an East Central Conference boys basketball game Friday night at the PHS gym.

The Panthers were in command with a 46-30 lead when the Indians went on their decisive run, fueled by junior point guard Brady Polk and a very effective 1-3-1 trapping defense. Polk poured in 20 of his game-high 29 points during the 36- 11 surge which saw him sink 16 of 18 free-throw attempts.

Berlin was 18-for-22 at the foul line during their run and 28-for-35 for the game. PHS was only 6-for-11 at the charity stripe.

The loss dropped the Panthers’ ECC record to 2-2 (6-4 overall). Berlin improved to 1-3 in the league (5-5 overall).

The Indians took the lead for good at 52-49 on a three-pointer by Justin Bartol with 3:04 left.

Berlin’s aggressive, trapping defense wreaked havoc on the PHS offense during the Indians’ comeback. The Panthers managed only one field goal during a span of about nine minutes as they fell behind 54-49. PHS suffered seven turnovers in the last 10 minutes.

The Panthers pulled to within 54- 51 after Will Hunter hit a follow-up basket at the 1:47 mark. PHS was unable to close the gap further the rest of the way.

Berlin sealed the win by hitting 12 free throws, all by Polk in the double-bonus, in the final 1:16.

“Overall it was a tough loss and an example of the necessity for the guys to understand the necessity to play all 36 minutes of a game,” said Panther head coach Tim Schultz.

“Unfortunately, we were unable to transfer what we had worked on in practice – mainly defending the three-point line and handling their 1-3-1 zone – into game situations.”

Berlin buried six three-pointers, led by Bartol’s three which all came in the second half.

“In order to be a better team we are going to need more consistent play from everyone on our roster and we will need to find the willingness to create points for ourselves by getting to the free-throw line,” said Schultz.

PHS seized a 31-19 halftime lead after 10-0 tear in the last 3:20 of the first half. Cody Kuhn keyed the spurt with five points, including a threeball. Matt Richards also had a trey during the stretch.

Layton Albright’s 12 points off the bench on four three-point goals and Kuhn’s 10 points ignited Plymouth’s offense in the opening half.

“In my five-year career here, this is one of the top comebacks we’ve had,” said Indian head coach Andy Kasuboski. “The kids showed a lot of resiliency and grit.

“In the first half, we had some good looks [on offense] and had a few that rattled in and out. We talked about that at halftime and that if we keep doing what we were doing offensively and defensively, then shots will go in in the second half.

“We switched on defense and went to our 1-3-1 and were much more aggressive in that than we have been. We got turnovers and forced some tough shots,” said Kasuboski.

Kuhn led PHS in scoring with 17 points and Albright hit 12. Kuhn had a team-high eight rebounds.

Kuhn also led the Panthers in assists with six and Adam Smith made three. Hunter had a team-best three steals.

“Cody Kuhn and Will Hunter played solid all-around games. Layton Albright shot the ball well,” said Schultz.

JV, FRESHMAN GAMES

Brandon Keller tallied 12 points and Johno Aschenbach made five steals to lead the Panthers to a 53-33 junior varsity win. PHS improved to 4-0 in the ECC (8-2 overall).

Alex Kelly paced PHS in assists with three.

PHS won the freshman contest, 71-54, behind the 28-point outburst by Michael Troka. Nick Falls and Noah Baratka added 16 and 13, respectively.

The Panthers hiked their league mark to 4-0 (9-1 overall). Joe Steinhardt led PHS in assists with six.


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