Back on Dec. 7, the Miami Trace Panthers visited Ohio’s first capitol to begin Frontier Athletic Conference play for the 2018-19 season against the Cavaliers, a team favored by many as the team quite likely to repeat as FAC champions.
That was a very tough game for the Panthers, as they fell, 67-39.
It’s a new year now and the Panthers did their best to turn the page and look ahead Friday night as the Cavaliers came to the Panther Pit for the final time.
The Panther faithful may not have been happy with the final result, but they had to be ecstatic with the effort their team put forth.
This game stayed competitive throughout.
Miami Trace was even able to pull to within two points of Chillicothe, 46-44, with 5:17 to play.
In the end, however, the Panthers could not overcome the 12 three-point field goals the Cavs made en route to a 62-53 victory.
Both teams shot the ball very well.
The Panthers, especially, had their best shooting game and perhaps their best game of the season, period, not withstanding a victory over Greeneview in the McDonald’s tournament late last month.
The Cavaliers improve to 5-1 in the FAC.
The Washington Blue Lions hosted Hillsboro Friday night and won that game, 51-39, lifting their FAC record to 5-1.
The Jackson Ironmen defeated the McClain Tigers Friday, 56-48, putting Jackson alone in third place at 4-2. McClain is now 3-3, Hillsboro is 1-5 in the conference.
The Panthers connected on 23 of 38 field goal attempts for 60 percent. Miami Trace was 5 of 9 from three-point range for 55 percent.
They might very well have upended the Cavaliers, had it not been for the visitors making 12 of 26 three-point shots for 46 percent and 23 of 43 shots overall for 53 percent.
Free throw shooting was minimal, with the Cavs hitting 4 of 4 and the Panthers, 2 of 6.
Senior Austin Mathews led the Panthers with 13 points and junior Kyler Conn scored 10.
Junior Trevor Barker and sophomore Cameron Moore both added eight points.
For Chillicothe, junior Jayvon Maughmer led the game with 22 points, including four threes.
Junior Tre Beard made 5 of 10 three-point field goals on his way to scoring 17 points for the Cavaliers.
Senior Chris Postage had two threes and scored 12 points.
Six-foot, seven inch junior Brandon Noel added nine points.
“You can’t take away everything,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Pittser said. “We were willing to give up the deep three there in the fourth quarter and they made some deep threes.
“To see the way we defended the scoring area tonight, relative to where we were at when we played at their place early in the year, there’s (been) a ton of growth,” Pittser said. “This is as close to a four-quarter game that we’ve put together all year. If we can continue to play four quarters like we did tonight through next week and beyond, we’re going to get some wins this year.
“We made tons of progress (handling pressure) tonight,” Pittser said. “We went to Dayton Stivers last Saturday night and it was four quarters of pressure, double-teaming every pass, full-court and half-court. That was, before tonight, probably our most complete game.
“We told our kids we’re hoping to have some leads in the second half of the season and teams won’t have any choice but to pressure us,” Pittser said. “We’re to the place now where we can handle that and that’s a good sign for us.”
“I thought Chris Postage kind of carried us in the first half,” Chillicothe head coach Eric Huffer said. “He had 12 points in the first half. In the second half, Jayvon really took over for us. They made it tough all night for Brandon to get good looks.”
Miami Trace (1-12 overall) is home against Unioto for the penultimate boys game in the Panther Pit Tuesday. The freshman game starts at 4:45 p.m.
Chillicothe will host the Washington Blue Lions in a battle for first place in the FAC Friday, Jan. 18 at 6 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 11 15 13 17 — 53
C 17 16 13 16 — 62
MIAMI TRACE — Austin Mathews 2 (3)-0-13; Kyler Conn 5-0-10; Trevor Barker 3-2-8; Cameron Moore 1 (2)-0-8; Austin Brown 3-0-6; Logan Rodgers 3-0-6; Cody Brightman 1-0-2; Dylan Bernard 0-0-0. TOTALS — 18 (5)-2-53. Free throw shooting: 2 of 6 for 33 percent. Three-point field goals: Mathews, 3; Moore, 2. Field goal shooting: 23 of 38 for 60 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 9 for 55 percent. Rebounds: 18 (4 offensive). Assists: 12. Steals: 6. Blocks: 0. Turnovers: 14. Personal fouls: 5. Bench points: 16. Second chance points: 4. Points off turnovers: 11.
CHILLICOTHE — Jayvon Maughmer 5 (4)-0-22; Tre Beard 1 (5)-0-17; Chris Postage 1 (2)-4-12; Brandon Noel 3 (1)-0-9; Vincent Roper 1-0-2; Christian Benson 0-0-0; Courtland Duncan 0-0-0; J’Quan Harris 0-0-0; Josh Howard 0-0-0. TOTALS — 11 (12)-4-62. Free throw shooting: 4 of 4 for 100 percent. Three-point field goals: Beard, 5; Maughmer, 4; Postage, 2; Noel. Rebounds: 12 (3 offensive). Assists: 13. Steals: 9. Blocks: 3. Turnovers: 9. Personal fouls: 4. Bench points: 0. Second chance points: 5. Points off turnovers: 13.