Parkway's Cory Walls puts up a shot and is contested by Antwerp's Luke Brewer (13) during Division IV sectional play at Van Wert on Wednesday night. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)
Parkway's Cory Walls puts up a shot and is contested by Antwerp's Luke Brewer (13) during Division IV sectional play at Van Wert on Wednesday night. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)

VAN WERT — Parkway busted out to an 18-6 lead over Antwerp after one quarter of Wednesday night's Division IV sectional semifinal. That proved to be the difference as the Archers won, barely, each of the remaining three quarters, but the Panthers held on for an action-packed 59-53 win.

"It's the right time of year to be playing our best basketball, and we definitely feel we're playing our best basketball right now," said a happy Parkway coach Doug Hughes. "The last three games we feel really good about, the Adams Central win, overtime against Minster, then tonight against a quality opponent, a really well-coached team, so it was a good victory.

Parkway (10-13), seeded 9th in the district, advances to play top-seed Crestview Friday night at 6 p.m. The Knights and Panthers met on December 9 with Crestview winning 86-54. Antwerp, seeded 10th, finishes up at 13-10.

The Panthers rolled up a quick 14-1 lead, featuring 3-pointers from sophomore Corey Walls, freshman Dylan Hughes, and junior Jack Wehe. It was 18-6 after one. Parkway held an 11-1 rebounding edge at that point, and the defense held the Archers to 1-for-9 shooting from the field.

"I thought we came out fired up, charged up," said Coach Hughes. "We got out 14-1, 18-6 at the end of one quarter. The start was huge. I thought we made some really nice plays to start the game. The energy level was really good, especially at the defensive end of the floor."

The second quarter was a totally different story. Antwerp suddenly began to dominate the boards, out-rebounding the Panthers 10-5 during those eight minutes. The Archers' terrific junior, Cole Seslar, had eight second-quarter points, and Antwerp got as close as six points on four occasions -- 20-14, 24-18, 27-21, and 29-23. Walls, however, rattled in a big three from the left corner with 11 seconds to go to make it 32-23 at the half.

Antwerp started the third period with a 6-0 run to get within 32-29, but again Parkway had an answer, a four-minute 8-1 run to lead 40-30. Seslar escaped for a buzzer-beating layup to make it 40-32 after three.

The fourth quarter was a wild up-and-down affair. Parkway led by as much as 12 at 44-32 early on and was still on top 52-41 with 2:16 left. Seslar, however, kept the Archers in it with 14 fourth-quarter points, and his triple from the left wing with 50 seconds left closed the gap to 54-48. The Panthers, however, then broke the Antwerp press for two layups to clinch the victory.

Parkway sophomore Caleb Kinney, an MAC all-conference second teamer, went down with an ankle injury with four minutes remaining. He left the game and did not return.

For the game as a whole, neither team shot well from the field, both of them at 34 percent, Antwerp on 18 of 53, Parkway on 17 of 50. That included 29 percent (5 of 17) from three for Parkway, 27 percent (4 of 15) for Antwerp. Parkway was deadly from the free throw line through the first three quarters -- 14 for 15 -- but went cold in the fourth to still end up with a respectable 74 percent (20 for 27). The Archers shot 65 percent (13 for 20) from the stripe. Parkway had a 34-30 edge on the boards. The teams had 10 turnovers apiece.

Eight Panthers saw action in the game, and seven of them scored, led by Walls and Kinney with 18 and 12. Only four Archers got into the scoring column, led by juniors Seslar, Luke Brewer, and Ty Rebber with 29, 11, and 10.

"It's his (Walls') career high, but he's a kid that's just a grinder," said Hughes. "He plays hard every practice, he plays hard every minute he's out on the floor. He's probably in there now more for his defense than he is for his offense, but he has 18 points, and we had him for six rebounds, a couple of assists, a couple of steals. The kid's all over the place. He had a great game tonight."

The future looks promising for both teams. Parkway's Andrew Baker was the only senior on either active roster. Panther senior Logan Huff is out with an ACL tear.


Antwerp (53)

Jayvin Landers 0, Cole Seslar 29, Luke Brewer 11, Jake Ryan 0, Ty Rebber 10, Keaton Altimus 0, Blake Schuette 3, Boston Dunderman 0, Brayton Stuckey 0.

Parkway (59)

Dylan Hughes 7, Corey Walls 18, Jack Wehe 9, Caleb Kinney 12, Nick Hawk 0, Mason Baxter 7, Preston Stober 2, Andrew Baker 4.

Antwerp 6 17 9 21 - 53

Parkway 18 14 8 19 - 59

3-point shooting: A 4/15 (Seslar 2, Brewer 2), PW 5/17 (Walls 2, Hughes, Baxter, Wehe). Rebounds: A 30, PW 34. Fouls: A 18, PW 16. Turnovers: A 10, PW 10.