Panthers overwhelm Berlin in ECC play

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


COLE BOOTH of Plymouth skies for a shot as Berlin’s Dirk Lueck (right) and an unidentified teammate look on in an ECC basketball game Friday night. – Photo by Jason Hassel COLE BOOTH of Plymouth skies for a shot as Berlin’s Dirk Lueck (right) and an unidentified teammate look on in an ECC basketball game Friday night. – Photo by Jason Hassel PLYMOUTH – Relentless pressure on offense and defense paid off for the Plymouth Panthers as they crushed Berlin, 68- 41, in boys basketball action Friday night at the PHS gym.

The Panthers’ aggressive manto man defense made the Indians work hard for their shots. PHS allowed few uncontested shots which was crucial to Berlin only hitting 35 percent from the field.

Plymouth’s quick-tempo offense moved the ball very well which led to several open shots from the perimeter and the inside, and the Panthers cashed in. The Panthers’ strong rebounding led to several second-shot opportunities and limited Berlin to one shot on most possessions.

PHS, which has won three straight, upped its East Central Conference record to 2-1 (6-2 overall). The Indians slipped to 1-2 in the ECC (4-3 overall).

The Panthers’ defense and offense wore the Indians down in the second half and resulted in many easy baskets for PHS. The Panthers outscored Berlin 42-22 in the second half to turn the game into a rout. PHS shot the lights out in the second half – going 18 of 23 (78 percent) from the field.

PHS broke the game open with a 12-1 run to take a 51-30 lead with 7:25 left. Brandon Keller hit two layups, Adam Smith and Cade Knaus each buried a threepointer and Mason Guell scored a layup during the spurt.

“As we wore on them defensively we were able to get better and easier shots on the offensive end. That is a prime example of good defense creating good offense,” said Panther head coach Tim Schultz.

“We played well on both ends of the floor. It was a great team performance.”

Senior guard Cade Knaus led the PHS attack with 19 points and sophomore guard Cole Booth tallied 14. Smith had a team-high eight rebounds and seven assists. Knaus handed out four assists.

Booth and Smith led the Panthers in steals with three each. Guell pulled down a team-high four offensive boards. PHS held an impressive 32-19 rebounding edge and had an excellent 10 offensive boards.

PHS sank eight three-balls.

“Mason played extremely well, defensively, on [Justin] Bartol,” said Schultz.

Bartol, a senior forward and an All-ECC second-team pick last season, was held to nine points.

“Our defense was outstanding. We pressured their ball handlers and they weren’t able to drive on us. They barely had any open looks,” said Knaus.

“It was a very good team effort,” said Knaus.

“Everyone did great sharing the ball,” said Booth. “We pushed the ball really well and got up and down the floor, and I think we had them worn out midway through the second half.”


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