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FISHER – While a three-win team may sometimes indicate an easy win for an opponent with a record over .500, recent history spoke other volumes for the Tuesday, Feb. 12, matchup between Paxton-Buckley-Loda and Fisher.
The Panthers needed overtime to defeat the then-winless Bunnies 57-53 in last December’s The Leader Classic in St. Joseph. They were able to put Fisher away in regulation this time around with a 48-40 victory.
Fisher’s Hans Carmien had a three-point play and Luke Harvey and Kyle Williams each sank a 3-pointer as the Bunnies built an 11-5 lead en route to an 11-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
Following another 3-pointer from Williams, PBL trailed 14-8. From there, however, the Panthers shut out the Bunnies for the rest of the first half as five PBL players scored two second-quarter points each en route to an 18-14 halftime lead.
“I thought we were much more composed and played a lot better – at least with offensive movement, which you could see the entire time whereas last time, I thought we got stagnant at times and really didn’t play to the level of our ability,” PBL head coach Scot Vogel said. “We’ve still got a long way to go – don’t get me wrong – but I thought our guys, even though we got down early, didn’t panic or anything like that. I think that’s a sign of maturity. We just kept going at them. When we were able to get the lead, we made sure we never gave it back, so those are some good things.”
Behind six third-quarter points from Weston Weber and five from Tyler Rubarts, PBL extended its lead to 29-16. Fisher responded, however, with an 11-6 run to end the first quarter trailing 35-27.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers (15-11) shut out Fisher (3-23) for the first 3:10 while going up 41-27. Behind six points from Carmien, however, PBL was outscored 13-7 the rest of the way.
“We had a chance to extend leads there, but didn’t for whatever reason,” Vogel said. “We’ve got to make sure we finish better. We’re still not shooting well, but we’ve just got to make sure we continue to get after it and emphasize it. Hopefully, it carries on through this last little portion of the season. I think we extended the game a little bit in the third quarter when had opportunities to do that, and I think that was good. But in the fourth quarter, we squandered some opportunities there, so that’s just a sign of where we’ve still got to mature in terms of understanding game situations. That’s just one of those things where we’ve got to make sure we continue to emphasize it as a coaching staff and just continue to do that.”
Rubarts would finish the game with 10 points, including two 3-pointers, while Weber had nine points.
Drew Schrodt led PBL in scoring with 11 points.
“Drew’s just Drew,” Vogel said. “He’s been extremely consistent, and we need him to just continue to be aggressive and probably even look to score a few times more. But at the same time, we’ve also got to make sure we have guys involved and things like that, and they do a good job of trying to facilitate and distribute the ball to other guys.”
Johnny Walder hit two 3-pointers in the second half en route to eight points.
I think Johnny’s giving us a big boost off the bench shooting-wise,” Vogel said.
The Panthers will travel to Momence for their regular season finale at approximately 7:30 p.m. Friday.
“Right now, we’ve just got to make sure we just keep trying to get everybody involved and developed,” Vogel said. “I thought the kids did a good job of just playing and working hard, but it’s still one of those things where we feel that our best basketball hasn’t been played yet, especially shooting-wise. We’re just focusing on getting better every game. Hopefully, when the postseason starts, we’re ready to make as strong a push as possible.”
For Fisher, Hans Carmien tied with Kyle Williams for the team lead with 11 points, as he was one of five players to undergo Senior Night prior to the PBL game.
Bunnies head coach Ron Ragle said – just as it did in The Leader Classic) – his team let another win slip through its fingertips.
“I credit PBL. They hit some tough shots, stayed with the game plan and squeaked it out on us. I thought my seniors played hard tonight on Senior Night,” Ragle said. “Hans is just a beast down in there. He plays very hard. He doesn’t take a lot of plays off. He takes up space in there, and they have to account for him, which opens up some stuff for Kyle.You just feel like as soon as you’re going to get over the hump, something happens and puts us back under. Hopefully, we can learn from this and go on to regionals and pick up a win from there. I thought we played well at times. Other times – we’ve just had mental lapses all season. That got us again. Whenever we would start to make a run, we’d have a mental lapse.”
JV – PBL 41, Fisher 28
The Panthers’ sophomore squadron improved to 15-5 on the year with a victory over the Bunnies.
PBL outscored Fisher 13-4 in the first quarter and 10-3 in the fourth to pull away. Nick Porter and Johnny Walder each led the Panthers with 11 points while Grant Pointer, Connor Zook and Noah Griffith tied for a team-high for the Bunnies with seven points each.
PBL 48, Fisher 40
Jay Eshleman 0-0-0, Tyler Rubarts 2-4-10, Weston Weber 3-3-9, Axl Denault 2-1-5, Jeremy Walder 2-1-5, Drew Schrodt 2-6-11, Johnny Walder 3-0-8, Kyler Swanson 0-0-0. Totals 14-15-48
Luke Harvey 1-0-3, Kyle Williams 3-2-11, Nick Thomas 2-0-4, Brody Farrar 1-0-2, Tate Estes 1-0-2, Brendan Kuhns 0-0-0, Grant Pointer 3-0-7, Hans Carmien 5-1-11. Totals 16-3-40.
PBL 8 10 17 13 -- 48
FIS 11 3 13 13 -- 40
3-pointers – PBL 5 (Rubarts 2, Jo. Walder 2, Schrodt). Fisher 5 (Williams 3, Harvey, Pointer).