The Washington Blue Lions and Miami Trace Panthers boys basketball teams began the 2016 portion of the schedule Friday night, meeting for the first time this season.
In front of one of the largest crowds yet to witness a game at Washington High School, the Blue Lions overcame an 8-point halftime deficit to post a 55-47 victory.
The win is the ninth in a row for the Blue Lions, as they improve to 10-2 overall, 6-1 in the SCOL.
Miami Trace falls to 6-5 overall, 3-3 in the SCOL.
The Blue Lions had three players in double figures with senior Max Knisley taking game high-scoring honors with 19 points.
Senior Cameron Eckles scored 15 and junior Griffin Shaw had 11 points.
For the Panthers, junior DeAndre Pettiford led with 17 points.
Junior Blake Pittser scored 16 for Miami Trace.
“They did a nice job of guarding us,” Washington head coach Shannon Bartruff said, referring especially to the second quarter. “They got up in a couple of our players and played off some other guys. That was my fault. I didn’t make an adjustment quick enough.”
There were five lead changes in the first quarter of action.
Washington led by as many as four points, while the Panthers held a five-point lead after an old-fashioned three-point play by DeAndre Pettiford.
Shaw hit a three-pointer just before the buzzer to cut Miami Trace’s lead to 16-14.
The differential in the second period favored Miami Trace to the tune of 11-5.
Washington went cold, going 1 of 8 from the floor, while the Panthers made 4 of 10 field goal attempts.
After Jarett Patton hit a pair of free throws for Washington, tying the game 19-19 with 6:52 to play, well over four minutes ran off the clock before the next tally, a three-pointer by Miami Trace’s Skyler McDonald.
Pittser made it back-to-back threes for the Panthers on the next trip down the floor for a 25-19 Miami Trace lead.
Pittser had the final bucket of the first half, and, as the teams exited the floor, heading to their respective locker rooms, Miami Trace was in front, 27-19.
“We played a really good first half to be up eight at halftime,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Pittser said. “The actions they were running in the first half, we had those scouted out pretty well. We were able to limit them getting easy stuff there.”
“All we talked about at halftime was moving the ball more, screening more, not standing around,” Bartruff said. “The second quarter was a bad quarter all the way around. We also had five turnovers in the second quarter.”
The third period saw a reversal of fortunes as Knisley hit a three and Shaw went 3 of 3 from the line to cut the Panthers’ lead to two.
Washington soon trailed, 31-30.
The teams exchanged scores before Kenny Upthegrove scored a bucket and Eckles scored on consecutive possessions to give Washington a 38-36 lead.
The Panthers had the last basket of the third quarter to tie the game, 38-38.
The lead changed hands a couple of times in the first part of the fourth quarter.
Miami Trace had what would turn out to be its last lead of the game at 43-42 with 4:35 to play in the game.
Washington outscored Miami Trace 13-4 in the final four-plus minutes, including treys from C.J. Taylor and Shaw.
The Blue Lions led by six points when DeAndre Pettiford sliced once more to the basket for two.
Four free throws from Knisley closed out the 55-47 victory for the Blue Lions.
“The tide turned in the second half,” Pittser said. “For whatever reason, we’ve had trouble in the third quarter of games. That’s been a consistent problem for us and it was again tonight.
“They are so good in tightly-contested games,” Pittser said of the Blue Lions. “Their kids are great at making plays in crunch time. They had a couple of kids step up during those situations where we had a tough time making shots and I thought that was the difference.”
“In the second half, we guarded with more intensity,” Bartruff said. “We got more deflections; we got a couple of steals. We rebounded the ball pretty well in the second half and that allowed us to get out and run.
“We had some guys step up and make big plays tonight,” Bartruff said. “Everyone’s going to try and take Max out of the game. C.J. Taylor made a couple of great defensive plays and hit a huge three.
“Griffin Shaw had a big three for us in the fourth quarter,” Bartruff said. “It was just a great team effort, from top to bottom. It didn’t matter who we put in, in certain situations, they made plays for us.
“I want to give a shout out to Coach (Rob) Pittser, too,” Bartruff said. “His kids played tremendous tonight. I thought they were aggressive. They knocked down a bunch of shots against us. They hurt us on the offensive glass in the first half, too.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Bartruff said. “The atmosphere was great. I appreciate all the fans coming out.”
The Blue Lions return to action Tuesday at league-leading Wilmington.
The Panthers are in action at home Saturday night against Ross Southeastern. The freshman game starts it all off at 4:45 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 14 5 19 17 — 55
MT 16 11 11 9 — 47
WASHINGTON — Max Knisley 2 (3)-6-19; Jarett Patton 0-2-2; Kory Proby 0-0-0; Ryan Flora 0-0-0; C.J. Taylor 1 (1)-1-6; Kenny Upthegrove 1-0-2; Dillon Steward 0-0-0; Griffin Shaw 1 (2)-3-11; Cameron Eckles 7-1-15; Jacob Knisley 0-0-0. TOTALS — 12 (6)-13-55. Free throw shooting: 13 of 19 for 68 percent. Three-point field goals: M. Knisley, 3; Shaw, 2; Taylor. Combined field goal shooting: 18 of 42 for 42 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 6 of 13 for 46 percent. Turnovers: 12. Rebounds: 23 (7 offensive). Assists: 8. Steals: 6. Blocks: 2
MIAMI TRACE — DeAndre Pettiford 6-5-17; Cameron Carter 0-0-0; Skyler McDonald 0 (1)-0-3; Tyrae Pettiford 3-0-6; Mitchell Creamer 0-0-0; Seth Leach 0-0-0; Blake Pittser 2 (4)-0-16; Jacob Batson 1-0-2; Darby Tyree 1-1-3. TOTALS — 13 (5)-6-47. Free throw shooting: 6 of 9 for 67 percent. Three-point field goals: Pittser, 4; McDonald. Combined field goal shooting: 18 of 51 for 35 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 22 for 22 percent. Turnovers: 14. Rebounds: 26 (8 offensive). Assists: 7. Steals: 5. Blocks: 3.
Blue Lions win j-v game vs. Panthers
The Washington Blue Lions won the j-v game against the Miami Trace Panthers Friday, 42-20.
Washington improves to 9-1 overall, 6-1 in the SCOL.
Blaise Tayese was the game’s leading scorer for Washington with 13 points.
Evan Upthegrove scored 11 for the Blue Lions.
Drew Batson led the Panthers with five points.
Adam Ginn and Austin Brown each added four points for Miami Trace.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 11 14 13 4 — 42
MT 2 0 10 8 — 20
WASHINGTON — Elijah Ruth 1-0-2; Evan Upthegrove 4 (1)-0-11; Jordan Behm 1-0-2; Jacob Barton 0-0-0; Jack Luebbe 0-1-1; Austin Bailey 1-2-4; Gage Martin 1-0-2; Nicholas Barrett 0 (1)-0-3; Matthew Marrs 0-0-0; Richard Burns Jr. 2-0-4; Blaise Tayese 5-3-13. TOTALS — 15 (2)-6-42. Free throw shooting: 6 of 11 for 55 percent. Three-point field goals: Upthegrove, Barrett.
MIAMI TRACE — Adam Ginn 2-0-4; Austin Matthews 1-0-2; Matt Fender 0-0-0; Heath Cockerill 1-0-2; Dillon Coe 0-0-0; Dakota Bolton 0-0-0; Ian Herbert 0-0-0; Drew Batson 1 (1)-0-5; Ross Matthews Jr. 0 (1)-0-3; Austin Brown 2-0-4; Tiante Connell 0-0-0. TOTALS — 7 (2)-0-20. Free throw shooting: 0 of 5. Three-point field goals: Batson, Matthews Jr.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1