With the COVID pandemic now going into its second year, the attendance at sporting events has been cut dramatically.
The Miami Trace Panthers hosted the Washington Blue Lions Saturday as a total of five games were played at Miami Trace High School.
What would be normally a packed house, or certainly a very large crowd, was pared down to a fraction of that size.
Still, the Panthers and Blue Lions put that, as well as their overall season records, aside and played another hard-fought battle in this series that dates back to the early 1960s.
The Blue Lions brought out the best in the Panthers as Miami Trace scored a season-high 71 points to 54 for Washington.
The Panthers had three players in double figures, led by senior Logan Rodgers, the game’s top scorer, with 21 points.
Senior Cameron Moore had 15 points and sophomore Andrew Guthrie scored 13 points. Rodgers and Guthrie were tied for the game-high with six rebounds.
Senior Ethan Steele scored six points for the Panthers and grabbed five rebounds and senior Dylan Bernard hit two threes for six points.
Washington sophomore Tanner Lemaster led his team with 17 points. He had one blocked shot and a team-high two steals and four rebounds.
Sophomore Traeton Johnson scored 12 points, senior Brice Cartwright hit three threes for nine points (he also had three rebounds) and senior Micai Claggett had six points and a game-tying six rebounds along with one slam dunk.
“We wanted to force the tempo a little bit,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Pittser said. “They made some shots there in the first half. When they were breaking our pressure and getting open looks, they were knocking them down.
“We went through a little bit of a lull there, and they were able to take the lead,” Pittser said. “But, fortunately, our kids at this point in the season have enough resiliency that they stayed with the plan. We were kind of hoping our depth would become a factor.
“We have a couple of games coming up (this) week that will be a test for us,” Pittser said, referring to Zane Trace and Hillsboro.
“We hope our guys will continue to work and grow and improve and understand we’re not a finished product yet and keep achieving,” Pittser said.
“We are still turning the basketball over way too much,” Washington head coach Shannon Bartruff said. “We’ve been talking about this all season, but, sometimes we just kind of get smacked in the mouth and we accept it, instead of showing a little bit more fight and a little more want-to.
“In the first half, I thought we were guarding pretty well,” Bartruff said. “We got lost in transition a couple of times coming out of free throw situations, that’s frustrating. We just have a long way to go.
“We’ll show flashes of being better than what we were, then we have spurts where we try to play so fast when we don’t need to,” Bartruff said. “Starting the second half, I think we got it down to seven or eight and then all of a sudden, we just kept turning the ball over. And you can’t get a time out fast enough and you only have so many you can use. We just have to get better in those situations.
“We just continue to make the mistakes that we’ve been making,” Bartruff said.
The Panthers connected for the first two baskets of the game. They led 7-2, 11-4 and 17-9 before the quarter ended with the home team in front, 19-13.
Both teams had their highest-scoring quarters of the game in the second.
Washington constructed a 10-2 run to take a 23-21 lead with 4:47 to play in the first half.
A 6-0 counter-run by the Panthers gave them back a lead they would not relinquish.
The Blue Lions got to within three points on a three by Cartwright, but, at the half the Panthers led, 43-33.
In the third quarter, the Panthers led by as many as 20 points.
At the end of three quarters, Miami Trace was in front, 60-45.
The Blue Lions were able to draw to within 11 points before the game ended, 71-54.
Miami Trace (3-5 in the FAC), 5-7 overall, is scheduled to play at Zane Trace for reserve and varsity only games Tuesday, beginning at 6 p.m.
The Panthers are scheduled to host Chillicothe Thursday, with the freshman game starting at 4:45 p.m. and will welcome Hillsboro (contending with Jackson for the FAC title) Saturday with the freshman game starting at 3 p.m.
The Panthers are the No. 15 seed in the upcoming Sectional tournament and will play at No. 2 seed Logan Elm Thursday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m.
The Blue Lions (2-7 in the FAC), 2-11 overall, are slated to play at Unioto Tuesday with the j-v game starting at 6 p.m.
Washington is scheduled to play at McClain High School Friday with the freshman game beginning at 5 p.m.
The Blue Lions are scheduled to play at Eastern Brown High School Saturday with the j-v game starting at 1 p.m.
Washington is the No. 17 seed in the tournament and will play at No. 16 seed Circleville Saturday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 13 20 12 9 — 54
MT 19 24 17 11 — 71
WASHINGTON — Tanner Lemaster 4 (1)-6-17; Traeton Johnson 5-2-12; Brice Cartwright 0 (3)-0-9; Micai Claggett 3-0-6; Raleigh Haithcock 0 (2)-0-6; Isaiah Haithcock 0 (1)-1-4; A.J. Dallmayer 0-0-0; Karson Runk 0-0-0; Titus Lotz 0-0-0; John Wall 0-0-0. TOTALS — 12 (7)-9-54. Free throw shooting: 9 of 18 for 50 percent. Three-point field goals: Cartwright, 3; R. Haithcock, 2; Lemaster, I. Haithcock. Field goal shooting: 19 of 46 for 41 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 7 of 19 for 36 percent. Rebounds: 26 (16 offensive). Assists: 7. Steals: 6. Blocked shots: 2. Turnovers: 19. Personal fouls: 12. Bench points: 4. Second chance points: 14. Points off turnovers: 11.
MIAMI TRACE — Logan Rodgers 7 (1)-4-21; Cameron Moore 4 (1)-4-15; Andrew Guthrie 4 (1)-2-13; Ethan Steele 2-2-6; Dylan Bernard 0 (2)-0-6; Braden Osborne 1 (1)-0-5; Cyrus Keplinger 0 (1)-0-3; Keegan Terry 0-0-0; Hayden Hunter 0-0-0; Braeden Morris 0-0-0; Isaiah Reisinger 0-0-0. TOTALS — 19 (7)-12-71. Free throw shooting: 12 of 18 for 67 percent. Three-point field goals: Bernard, 2; Rodgers, Moore, Guthrie, Osborne, Keplinger. Field goal shooting: 26 of 51 for 51 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 7 of 18 for 38 percent. Rebounds: 31 (13 offensive). Assists: 16. Steals: 14. Blocked shots: 3. Turnovers: 15. Personal fouls: 16. Bench points: 17. Second chance points: 16. Points off turnovers: 17.
Stats by Cory Patton