State-ranked Valders downs Panthers in OT

VALDERS – The Plymouth Panthers stormed back to force overtime but fell shy in overtime, 68-63, to state-ranked Valders in a nonconference boys basketball game here Saturday night.

The loss snapped the Panthers’ five-game winning streak and dropped their record to 8-3. The Vikings, ranked No. 8 in the Division 3 Coaches Poll, improved to 12-1.

PHS trailed by as many as 11 (43-32) with 12 minutes left in regulation and rallied to tie the game, 45-45. The Vikings took a 57-51 lead with 3:20 remaining in regulation.

Cole Booth’s three-point goal with about 45 seconds left in regulation knotted the score for PHS at 59-59 going into overtime.

Valders outscored PHS 9-4 in the overtime period, led by Kyle Tuma’s four points.

Booth, a sophomore guard, led all scorers with a career-high 29 points, including 19 in the second half which sparked the Panthers’ rally. He also had a team-high three steals and three assists. Adam Smith also had three assists.

Smith and Cade Knaus paced PHS rebounders with four apiece.

Tuma, a senior forward/guard, spearheaded the Vikings’ attack with 24 points – 15 in the first half which ignited his team to a 30-24 halftime lead.

“A solid high school game played by two evenly matched teams,” said PHS head coach Tim Schultz.

“Cole Booth played exceptionally confident, especially in the second half on the offensive end with a couple of big threes and penetrating drives to the basket.”

Booth hit three treys in the second half. PHS was an outstanding 10-for-20 (50 percent) from threepoint range for the game.

“As a team we moved the ball effectively on offense – creating many open looks from outside the arc,” said Schultz.

“Defensively, Mason Guell and Aiden Reilly did a great job defending Valders’ best player and leading scorer Kyle Tuma, making him earn all of his points.

“Cooper Gosse and Joe Steinhardt played well off the bench, with Cooper hitting a big three late in the second half to help keep us in the game,” said the coach.

Free-throw shooting was crucial in the outcome as Valders outscored PHS 20-11 at the foul line.

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