Parkway’s Austin Adams puts up a shot between a pair of Waynesfield-Goshen defenders in a game at Parkway High School Friday. Panthers fell to the visiting Tigers 52-51. (Times Bulletin/Pat Agler)
Parkway’s Austin Adams puts up a shot between a pair of Waynesfield-Goshen defenders in a game at Parkway High School Friday. Panthers fell to the visiting Tigers 52-51. (Times Bulletin/Pat Agler)
By JIM COX

Times Bulletin Correspondent

sports@timesbulletin.com

ROCKFORD - It was as exciting a season opener as you could ask for -- with ten ties and six lead changes. Unfortunately for Parkway, the last lead change came on a Waynesfield-Goshen free throw with 2.6 seconds left in the game, giving the Tigers a 52-51 win. A Panther heave at the final buzzer from three-quarters court barely ticked iron, allowing the visitors to escape with a wild one.

W-G held its biggest lead of the game, 46-41, with 5:35 left, but Parkway had a last charge left in its battery. Matt Heindel then split a pair of free throws, and Cody Schmitt drilled a three from the left angle to get it within one at 46-45. The Tigers' inside force, 6'3 Lee Turner, escaped for an easy one to lead by three. After two missed Parkway freebies and an errant front end by W-G, Austin Adams made two from the stripe -- 48-47, W-G, at 2:35.

More missed charity tosses -- two by the Panthers, one of two by the Tigers, and another front end by W-G -- left the visitors up 49-47. Heindel split another pair to cut the gap to one, and after a Tiger misfire, Adams hit nothing but net on a three-ball from the right wing, retrieving a 51-49 Parkway lead at the 1:01 mark. However, Lee Turner powered inside, drew a foul, and calmly bottomed out both foul shots to tie it at 51 at 0:35. Parkway missed from the field with ten ticks left to set the stage for the finale.

In the end -- as is often the case -- missed free throws were the difference. Parkway made only 4 of 12 in the last quarter -- 12 of 27 (44 percent) for the game. W-G was slightly better at 5 of 10 in the last eight minutes -- 12 of 20 (60 percent) in total.

Both teams were shaky in the early going. W-G led early, but Parkway tied it at 8, then led 10-8 after one period via an Austin Dennison 17-foot shot from the left wing at 0:26. Dennison, in fact, scored eight of the Panther points in the first eight minutes.

Play didn't improve much in the second quarter. Parkway got its biggest lead at 16-11 before the Tigers came back to tie it at 22, at which point the Panthers' inside muscle, 6'5 Brant Barna banked in a six-footer to lead at by two at the break.

After one half, both teams were having shooting problems, Parkway hitting only 8 of 27 (30 percent), W-G 7 of 24 (29 percent). That changed significantly in the third period, however, as both teams found their grooves. There were four ties and three lead changes in that period alone, and both teams found a faster pace to their liking. The Panthers canned 7 of 15 from the field, the Tigers 8 of 16, as W-G took a 41-39 lead into the last eight minutes.

For the game as a whole, Parkway shot 35 percent (18 of 52) from the field, while Waynesfield hit 38 percent (18 of 48). Those numbers included three made treys by the Panthers and four by the Tigers. Parkway won the board battle 38-30. The Gold and Black had 20 turnovers, W-G 21.

Lee Turner led all scorers with 18, while teammate Dylan Little added 13, including three threes. Parkway had balanced scoring, led by Adams, Heindel, and Barna with 12, 10, and 9.

Parkway sprinted out to a 32-7 halftime lead in the jayvee game, then held on from there for a 50-26 win. Sage Dugan led Parkway scorers with 15, while Brady Barnes had 10 for W-G.

Score by quarters:

Parkway 10 14 15 12 - 51

Waynesfield-Goshen 8 14 19 11 - 52

Parkway (51)

Tanner Bates 2 1-4 5, Adams 4 2-2 12, Dennison 1 4-6 6, Heindel 3 4-6 10, Barna 4 1-5 9, Schmitt 1 0-0 3, Luke Bates 3 0-4 6. Totals 18 12-17 51.

Waynesfield-Goshen (52)

Lake Turner 3 2-6 8, Lee Turner 6 6-7 18, Little 5 0-1 13, Spillman 0 1-2 1, Tiitma 0 0-0 0, Hennon 2 0-1 4, Motter 0 2-2 2, Begley 0 0-0 0, Crawford 2 1-1 6. Totals 18 12-20 52.

Three-point field goals: Parkway 3 (Adams 2, Schmitt), W-G 4 (Little 3, Crawford).