Van Wert sophomore Owen Treece goes up for a shot Friday night in the Cougars game against Parkway. Treece started for the Cougars in their first win of the season. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)
Van Wert sophomore Owen Treece goes up for a shot Friday night in the Cougars game against Parkway. Treece started for the Cougars in their first win of the season. (DHI Media/ Pat Agler)
VAN WERT — In a game that drew call backs to last Saturday’s match up against Lincolnview. Van Wert controlled the great majority of the game but allowed Parkway to stick around just enough to make a late game push. Though, when the final seconds ticked off, the scoreboard read Van Wert 56 Parkway 50.

“In a short preseason it’s hard to simulate the end of games,” said Van Wert head coach Mark Bagley. “We’ve had to do that twice now, and I’m happy about it. You can do all you want in practice and those kinds of things, but its different when you go against somebody live.”

Van Wert didn’t score a field goal in the final five and half minutes of the game, but were able to walk away with the victory because of how they did at the free-throw line. Van Wert’s largest lead of the game was 11, which came in the middle of the third quarter. They slowly saw that lead trickle away, and though the feel in the gym was that Van Wert was in control Parkway did enough to stick around until the very end.

The swing in which Parkway started seeing momentum happened just as the third quarter was ending. Preston Stober and Caleb Kinney would come down the floor and evenly share the ball until one or the other would take the rock to the hole. Kinney, especially late in the game, gave fits to the Van Wert defense. The last possession for the Panthers in the third quarter saw Kinney take a hand off on the left wing, and drive right up the lane and create a lay-up while getting fouled— he then converted the three point play at the line. The first offensive possession in fourth quarter saw Kinney perpetually do the exact same thing sans the ‘and-one’.

Parkway slowly crept their way back into the game by driving to the hole and hitting their free-throws. The game once again slipped away from them in the last few minutes, because the Panthers started missing from the charity stripe.

“We had some key possessions there in the game with two or three minutes to go, where we had good looks at the basket, we got fouled and we didn’t hit the free throws or shots that we needed to in order to beat a quality opponent like Van Wert,” said Parkway head coach Doug Hughes. “Our defense tightened down and gave ourselves a chance to come from behind and win the game— the shots just didn’t fall like we needed them to tonight.”

The score was 49-45 with just under three minutes left. Coach Bagley and Van Wert seemingly aware of the fact that Parkway only had two team fouls at the time, didn’t penetrate the basket. Instead just moved the ball around the perimeter and ticked nearly a minute off before Parkway became the wiser. So the Panthers had to foul Van Wert on five consecutive inbounds passes, in order to send Van Wert to the line.

Drew Bagley hit two free-throws in consecutive possessions for the Cougars to make the score 53-45. Nate Place then went to the line and missed his free throws. Kinney drove the ball up the right side of the lane which gave him a lay up to bring Parkway within six. After Bagley missed a pair of free throws, senior Panther Preston Stober nailed a fade away 3-pointer to make it a one possession game. This was the last time Parkway scored, as Van Wert nailed three free-throws to pull the game out of reach.

The game had all the same hall marks of last Saturday’s matchup, Coach Bagley even joked about the fact that he was getting some deja-vu down the stretch. But even with the missed free-throws and letting Parkway get back into the game, the Cougars left victorious.

“It’s a lot easier to coach mistakes after a win than after a heart breaker like we had last week,” said Bagley. “Our kids did a nice job of getting it out of their mouth this week. I was pleased how they practiced— we didn’t talk about it. We moved on, because we had to, because it’s one game.”

Both teams have showed bright spots in the young season. A lot of athleticism and a fair amount of experience. After all the dust settled and the game was over both coaches had the same thing to say about their opponent— “they’re gonna’ win a lot of games.”

Summary:

Parkway 10|11|16| 13

Van Wert 13|17|15|11

Parkway

Caleb Kinney 20 pts, 8 reb

Preston Stober 10 pts, 8 reb, 2 ast

Dylan Hughes 8 pts, 7 reb

Mason Baxter 7 pts, 2 reb

Van Wert

Nate Place 20 pts, 6 reb

Drew Bagley 14 pts, 4 reb

Lawson Blackmore 9 pts, 3 reb

Blake Henry 7 pts, 3 reb

LeTrey Williams 4 pts, 3 reb