A very large crowd turned out at Miami Trace High School Tuesday night to watch the Panthers battle their close rivals, the Blue Lions of Washington High School.
The Panthers were looking to hold on to a one-game lead over Chillicothe in the SCOL standings.
The Blue Lions were aiming to bounce back from a loss suffered at McClain High School on Friday.
The folks certainly got their money’s worth on this night.
The Panthers were able to protect their home court with a 63-60 victory over the Blue Lions.
Miami Trace is now 9-1 in the SCOL, 13-3 overall.
Washington falls to 5-5 in the SCOL, 7-9 overall.
Miami Trace had three players in double figures, led by senior Tyrae Pettiford with 20, including one slam dunk.
Pettiford led the Panthers with seven rebounds. He had four assists and three steals. He hit two three-point field goals.
Senior Blake Pittser scored 16 points, including four three-pointers. He led the Panthers with five assists.
Junior Cameron Carter scored 14 points, including hitting three threes in a row in the third quarter.
For the Blue Lions, senior Kenny Upthegrove led the way with 18 points. He also led his team with eight rebounds. He had two three-point baskets.
Senior Jarett Patton scored 14 points and added seven rebounds.
A trio of Blue Lions, senior Kory Proby and sophomores Dillon Steward and Evan Upthegrove, each scored eight points.
“It really doesn’t matter what the records are,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Pittser said. “When these two teams play, it always ends up this way.
“While it’s exciting for the community, for a really, really packed gymnasium, and it’s exciting for the kids to get to play in such an environment, it about drives a coach crazy at points,” Pittser said. “A nice, tight ballgame is probably what the fans of Fayette County wanted on both sides, no matter who they wanted to win and tonight they got that.”
Pittser spoke about the five threes the Panthers rained down on the Blue Lions in the third quarter.
“You could make a case that that was the most important stretch of the ball game,” Pittser said. “That spurt got us back in the game. We had been struggling down seven at the half. That kind of forced Shannon’s hand a little bit, in terms of what he wanted to do, defensively.
“We were able to get some stuff later in the contest, simply because we hadn’t seen much man (defense) up to that point,” Pittser said. “Cameron was large in that stretch, for sure. We’ve struggled against some zone defenses this year and that’s a good zone. They spread you out where, even when you get a catch, you’re not really in an area you’re comfortable with.
“They’re a well-coached team,” Pittser said. “Shannon had them coached up and certainly gave us some problems tonight.”
“I thought the kids played hard, it just came down to one stretch there in the third quarter,” Washington head coach Shannon Bartruff said. “They got out on us in transition. I felt like we did a pretty good job in the first half of not giving up the easy stuff in transition.
“Obviously, they made some shots against the zone in the third quarter and brought us out of it,” Pittser said. “That’s the kind of team that they are. It feels like you have the tempo where you want it and the flow of the game is where you want it; you’re taking good shots, you’re guarding them on defense and then, all of a sudden, in just a couple of moments, your five or six-point lead is gone. You can’t call timeouts fast enough and you can’t stop that momentum fast enough. You have to trust the kids are going to make some plays and get the momentum back, or at least stem the tide.
“I felt like we did that in the third quarter,” Bartruff said. “We were in the danger zone, I think we were down eight or nine, and we got it back to four, something like that. Our kids’ effort was great.”
The scoring was back and forth in the first quarter.
After eight minutes of play, Miami Trace held a 12-9 lead.
The Blue Lions exploded for 23 points in the second quarter to 13 for Miami Trace to take a 32-25 halftime lead.
Carter carried a big share of the offensive load in the third quarter, scoring 13 points, including hitting three threes in a stretch of four treys (the other belonging to Pittser).
Despite the scoring surge, the Blue Lions trailed by just four points after three quarters, 47-43.
In the fourth quarter, Miami Trace twice had a lead of seven points.
Steward converted the old-fashioned three-point play and Patton hit a three-point shot to quickly pull the Blue Lions back to within one, 58-57, with 2:46 to play in the game.
Tyrae Pettiford hit a pair of free throws and Patton hit one charity toss to make it 60-58, Panthers with 1:37 to go in the contest.
DeAndre Pettiford hit one free throw to make it 61-58 with 1:11 remaining.
The Blue Lions missed three shots underneath the basket and Tyrae Pettiford had a slam dunk.
Washington scored a late basket to make the final, 63-60.
Miami Trace is back in action with a crucial game for the top spot in the league against Chillicothe, at home Friday.
The Cavaliers got blown out in a non-league game against Upper Arlington Tuesday, 74-26.
The Blue Lions are home against Hillsboro Friday with the j-v game at 6 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 12 13 22 16 — 63
W 9 23 11 17 — 60
MIAMI TRACE — Tyrae Pettiford 4 (2)-6-20; Blake Pittser 2 (4)-0-16; Cameron Carter 2 (3)-1-14; Darby Tyree 2-0-4; Keondrick Bryant 2-0-4; DeAndre Pettiford 1-1-3; Seth Leach 1-0-2; Mitchell Creamer 0-0-0; Skyler McDonald 0-0-0. TOTALS — 14 (9)-8-63. Free throw shooting: 8 of 14 for 57 percent. Three-point field goals: Pittser, 4; Carter, 3; T. Pettiford, 2. Combined field goal shooting: 23 of 48 for 47 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 9 of 20 for 45 percent. Rebounds: 24 (4 offensive). Assists: 12. Steals: 10. Blocks: 2. Turnovers: 13. Personal fouls: 15. Bench points: 22. Second chance points: 2. Points off turnovers: 7.
WASHINGTON — Kenny Upthegrove 6 (2)-0-18; Jarett Patton 4 (1)-3-14; Kory Proby 3-2-8; Dillon Steward 3-2-8; Evan Upthegrove 1 (2)-0-8; Richard Burns 1-2-4. TOTALS — 18 (5)-9-60. Free throw shooting: 9 of 17 for 52 percent. Three-point field goals: K. Upthegrove, 2; E. Upthegrove, 2; Patton. Combined field goal shooting: 23 of 50 for 46 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 16 for 31 percent. Rebounds: 30 (11 offensive). Assists: 7. Steals: 6. Blocks: 1. Turnovers: 16. Personal fouls: 13. Bench points: 4. Second chance points: 10. Points off turnovers: 9.
Thrilling j-v finish at the Panther Pit
The Washington Blue Lions, leading a good part of the way, were taken to overtime by the Miami Trace Panthers in the j-v boys game Tuesday night.
In the end, Washington’s Ross Matthews put up a shot from just inside half court at the buzzer that went in to give the Blue Lions an exciting 47-45 overtime victory over the Panthers.
Matthews finished the game with nine points.
Miami Trace’s Austin Brown was the game’s leading scorer with 18 points.
Brett Lewis had 12 for the Panthers, including three three-point buckets.
Also for the Panthers, Heath Cockerill scored eight (hitting two threes), Drew Batson scored three and Austin Mathews and Dakota Bolton each had two.
For the Blue Lions, Blaise Tayese led with 17 points. Matthews and Garritt Leisure each scored nine, and Levi Ludwick and Eli Lynch both scored six points.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1