GRANVILLE — Revenge was on the mind of the Putnam County Panthers when they took the floor Saturday night to face the Henry Mallards for the championship of the Tri-County Conference basketball tournament.
After being beaten by the Mallards earlier in the season, the Panthers came into the game with something to prove. They more and proved, defeating the Mallards 70-46.
Head coach Josh Nauman said he talked to his team before the game and encouraged them to come out ready to go.
“We didn’t think we played very well the last time against Henry, and our guys wanted to show that they were better than they represented themselves last time,” Nauman said. “Coming into the tournament we wanted a chance to play both those teams and prove we were better than the first time.”
Harold Fay, who led his team in victory with 19 points, said the Panthers were out to impress the hometown crowd.
“They beat us last time, we definitely wanted to keep them from getting that record,” said Fay, noting the all-time tournament scoring record Henry was chasing.
PC’s defense kept the Mallards from scoring until 3:12 in the quarter when Jake Schlosser of the Mallards hit a basket for two points. The Panthers dominated the boards in comparison to the cold shooting Mallards and took in eight rebounds to the Mallards two in the quarter.
In the second quarter, leading by five points, the Panthers continued their fast paced game that seemed to leave the cold shooting Mallards grasping as their defense started to come apart. The Mallards committed seven turnovers in the quarter that gave Putnam County opportunities for scoring. The Panthers took a 16-point lead at 40-24 into the locker room at the half. Nauman said the depth of the Panthers’ bench really helped in the game.
“It was great to see Jacob Theobald step it up tonight. I think it (his 15 points) was a career high. We knew he was capable of that and he is one of our best shooters,” he said.
Theobald was delighted as well with the game and his efforts.
“I don’t know. I’ve got a pretty decent three-point shot, so I think tonight I was just hot,” Theobald said. “I just got on fire. This is going to give us a lot of confidence. Senior night we are going up against Chicago North Lawndale. They are going to be a really good team, so hopefully that will give us a lot of confidence for that game.”
The Panthers were in the driver’s seat, opening up a 19-point lead at 3:36 in the thirds quarter. Two keys included a strong number of assists and dominating the boards in rebounds on both the offensive and defensive side.
The fourth quarter had PC with a 57-34 lead and the Henry crowd going quiet in the stands. At 3:19 remaining in the game, senior Evan Kreiser fouled out and the PC crowd and his teammates gave him a strong ovation as he went to the bench.
Henry’s Ryan Condit had 15 points for the Mallards.
Notes: Peoria Christian defeated Roanoke-Benson 79-63 for third place while Marquette topped Midland 59-45 for the consolation title. ... PC’s Fay, Evan Krieser and Veverka were named to the all-tournament team. Henry placd Jake Schlosser, Deven Guelde and Nathan Helle.