Defense sparks Panthers to first win

by Matt Kraus
Review Co respondent


DEREK SCHWEIGER of Plymouth shoots over a Slinger defender in Friday’s basketball game at PHS. – Photo by Jason Hassel DEREK SCHWEIGER of Plymouth shoots over a Slinger defender in Friday’s basketball game at PHS. – Photo by Jason Hassel PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers’ boys basketball team opened its home schedule on Friday night with its first win of the season. On the way to improving to 1-2 overall, the Panthers played strong defense to gain a 44-34 nonconference victory against the Slinger Owls.

“Friday, we played our best team defense so far this year,” said PHS head coach Tim Schultz.

“We wanted to limit [junior center Derek] Sabin’s touches. Derek [Schweiger] did a good job. He gave up a few inches but he is smart and has good footwork. We also used multiple guys on Sabin.”

Sabin led the Owls (1-2 overall) in scoring with 11 points and was held to only three in the first half.

“I am able to use my size to be physical inside. Our help-side defense was able to help me when he [Sabin] stayed inside,” said Schweiger.


JAKE STEINHARDT of Plymouth drives on Slinger’s Derek Sabin in Friday’s basketball game. – Photo by Jason Hassel JAKE STEINHARDT of Plymouth drives on Slinger’s Derek Sabin in Friday’s basketball game. – Photo by Jason Hassel With PHS holding a 22-17 lead at halftime, Schweiger grabbed an offensive rebound for the Panthers and scored as he was fouled. Schweiger’s free throw and a basket by Adam Smith on the following possession gave the Panthers a 10-point lead, 27-17, 45 seconds into the second half.

Sabin made two free throws and a basket in the lane to cut the Panthers lead to 32-26.

The Panthers responded with an Alex Shutter free throw and layup by Jake Steinhardt to go up 35-26.

Tyler Evans hit a basket in the lane to cut the Panthers’ lead to five points with 11 minutes remaining but that was as close as the Owls would get.

The Panthers built their lead to the 10-point final advantage despite going 3-for-7 from the free throw-line down the stretch, and 8-for-17 overall.

“We need to improve from the free-throw line,” said Shutter, a senior guard.

“We need to make our free throws,” said Schultz. “

We track free throws in practice every day and put ourselves in pressure situations during practice. Regardless of how well we shoot in practice, we continue to struggle in games. All we can do is continue to work.”

The Panthers opened the scoring on a basket by Smith. The Owls responded to take a 4-2 lead two minutes into the game.

Two possessions later, Cody Kuhn hit a three-pointer to give the Panthers a 5-4 lead. Steinhardt made two free throws and Cade Knaus scored on consecutive layups to give the Panthers an 11-4 lead with 11:42 remaining in the first half.

Following an Owls’ basket, a basket by Mason Guell and a basket and free throw by Shutter gave the Panthers a 16-6 lead midway through the first half.

Shutter led the Panthers with eight points even as he struggles with his shooting touch.

“I am struggling with my shooting and my confidence is a little low right now but I have a lot of teammates who do the little things to help us, “said Shutter.

“We didn’t shoot well but with nine players scoring for us we had balanced scoring,” said Schultz.

“Schweiger grabbed a teamhigh eight rebounds and Kuhn added six that were important for us.

“For the third time this year Mason Guell played well off the bench for us. He is always moving and putting forth effort,” said Schultz.

Schweiger led PHS in assists with four. Guell had a team-high three steals.

JUNIOR VARSITY GAMES

Nick Falls had a team-high 15 points and seven rebounds to lead the Panthers to a 50-34 win in the JV 1 game. PHS improved to 3-0.

Joe Steinhardt and Aiden Reilly paced PHS in assists with four each. Max Hassel had a team-high three steals.

Plymouth’s JV 2 squad upped its mark to 3-0 with a 40-30 win. Zach Zeeveld and Cooper Gosse led the PHS attack with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Joel Williams led the Panthers in boards with seven. Gosse had a team-best four assists.


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