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End of the Panthers’ prowl

GRANVILLE – Colfax Ridgeview did what no other team has been able to do this basketball season — beat the Putnam County Panthers on their home floor.

Ridgeview snuck away with a 65-54 win over the Panthers at R.M. Germano Gymnasium Thursday in semifinal play of the Putnam County 1A Sectional. The Panthers were undefeated in 11 home games over the regular season.

“We just never really seemed to get it going with our pressure,” said head coach Josh Naumann. “We played hard; we battled all the way. They just had too many shots.

“We left a lot of baskets in the lane, shots we should have been finishing. And we were wanting calls that they aren’t going to do at this time of the year.”

On average, the Panthers’ field goal percentage hovered around 35 percent, compared to Ridgeview’s 75 percent. In addition, many of the Mustang buckets were three-pointers, which were difficult for the Panthers to counter.

“It seemed like every time we got close, they’d go on a run. They just hit more shots than we did,” said Naumann. “They had a lot of good shooters.”

The contest was a physical one, especially in the second half when both teams saw multiple free throw opportunities. Ridgeview used a high pass offense, and with their taller players, the Panthers were unable to use the strong defense that took them to sectionals.

“They’re a football school, and their guys were a lot stronger and more physical than we were,” said Naumann. “I told our younger guys that ‘You need to hit the weight room before next year.’”

Harold Fay led all scorers in the loss with 21 points. Fellow Panther Cody Veronda dropped in 17, while Xavier Warren contributed seven points. For the Mustangs, Josh Weier led his team with 17 points with Cory Winterland adding 14 and Trevor McIntosh 12.

Six Panthers – including starters Veronda, Warren, and Dusty Miller – will graduate this year, and although they’re currently disappointed with their loss, Naumann believes the team will bounce back.

“They’ll forget about this. They’ll remember 24 wins and the 14-game winning streak and winning the regional title and the conference tournament. They’ll get over it. They’re hurting now, but that’s to be expected,” said Naumann.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

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