Parkway freshman Nick Hawk (32) skies to defend the rim against Versailles’ Justin Ahrens on Friday night. Ahrens scored 29 points, and so did Parkway, in a 71-29 Tiger win. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)
Parkway freshman Nick Hawk (32) skies to defend the rim against Versailles’ Justin Ahrens on Friday night. Ahrens scored 29 points, and so did Parkway, in a 71-29 Tiger win. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)
ROCKFORD — The Parkway Panthers kicked off Winter Homecoming on Friday night as the Panthers welcomed Midwest Athletic Conference foes the Versailles Tigers to Parkway High School. The Tigers held the Panthers to single digit scoring in every quarter and picked up the 71-29 victory.

The Tigers opened the game with a boom as Justin Ahrens and Keaton McEldowney nailed 3-pointers to give Versailles a 6-0 lead. The Tigers lead balloon to 14-0 as Ahrens chipped in four more points before a Jack Wehe foul shot got the Panthers on the board in the first quarter, 14-1 Versailles. Parkway got their first bucket from the field as Jeremy Feldes got an easy layup to bring the score to 14-3 Tigers.

Versailles ended the first quarter with a triple from Austin Knapke and a foul shot from AJ Ahrens to make the score 20-3 after one.

“I didn’t think we were aggressive at all in the first quarter. I thought we came out timid and we just didn’t come out strong. And we dug ourselves a huge hole because of it, got down double digits and that’s probably the number one team in the state for Division III. So tonight we needed to get off to a better start,” said Parkway coach Doug Hughes.

The Panthers opened the second quarter with a 3-point play from Caleb Kinney, and, later on in the quarter, Feldes connected for a basket for Parkway to make it 22-8. Justin Ahrens got three straight jumpers to increase the Tigers lead to 30-9 in the second quarter before a Parkway timeout with 3:20 left in the first half.

Justin Ahrens went on a 5-0 run himself to open the second half to increase the Tigers lead to 40-12. The Panthers went 4-for-8 from the foul line as Justin Barna was able to knock down three free throws during that time to cut the Versailles lead to 46-18. Nick Hawk would get a layup and Andrew Baker made a foul shot to make the score 48-21, Tigers.

Versailles (8-1, 3-0 MAC) went into the final period up 53-21 over the Panthers.

The Panthers (3-7, 0-2 MAC) made their first triple of the game as Mason Baxter connected from beyond the arc and a couple plays later Baxter again drained from three point land. The second Baxter trey cut the Versailles lead to 61-27

Justin Ahrens lead all scorers on the night with 29 points for Versailles and AJ Ahrens chipped in with 10 points. The Panthers were led in the scoring column by Baxter with 6 points and Kinney with 5 points.

“Our youth showed at times tonight. We have got to learn from nights like this and that is just what we got done talking about. We need to learn from this so we can get better. Tomorrow we will watch the film and talk with the kids about it and we will get better from it,” said Parkway coach Hughes.

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VERSAILLES (71)

Keaton McEldowney 5-8 0-0 11, Alex Wendel 2-6 2-2 6, Justin Ahrens 9-17 7-9 29, Connor Custenborder 1-4 0-0 2, AJ Ahrens 4-5 2-4 10, Austin Knapke 1-1 0-0 3, Cole Nikamp 2-3 0-1 4, Sam Barga 0-4 2-2 2, Kyle Jones 1-2 0-0 3, Evan Heistand 0-0 1-2 1, Total 25-50, 14-20 71

PARKWAY (29)

Mason Baxter 2-10 0-0 6, Logan Huff 2-7 0-0 4, Nick Hawk 1-5 0-1 2, Caleb Kinney 1-3 3-5 5, Justin Barna 0-2 4-10 4, Andrew Baker 1-6 1-3 3, Jack Wehe 0-0 1-2 1, Jeremy Feldes 2-4 0-0 4, Total 9-37, 9-21 29

Versailles 20 13 20 18 - 71

Parkway 3 9 9 8 - 29

3-Pointers: Parkway 2-11 (Baxter 2) Versailles 4-7 (J Ahrens 2, McEldowney, Knapke) Rebounds: Parkway 20 (Baker 8) Versailles 34 (J Ahrens 13) Assists: Parkway 2 (Barna 2) Versailles 8 (Wendel 4) Turnovers: Parkway 18, Versailles 12 Fouls: Parkway 17, Versailles 16 JV: 64-37 Versailles