Parkway’s Jack Wehe (14) takes a 3-point field goal during a basketball game at Waynesfield-Goshen on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. The Panthers beat the Tigers in the season-opener for both squads, 64-49. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)
Parkway’s Jack Wehe (14) takes a 3-point field goal during a basketball game at Waynesfield-Goshen on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. The Panthers beat the Tigers in the season-opener for both squads, 64-49. (DHI Media/Pat Agler)
WAYNESFIELD — The season tipped-off for the Parkway Panthers on Friday night as they traveled to Waynesfield to battle the Tigers of Waynesfield-Goshen. For opening night, the gymnasium was alive and the student section was a ruckus throughout the game. Yet, the Panthers overcame the elements, and, in what was a competitive game, pulled away in the end, winning 64-49.

“It seemed like it was hard for us to get in a flow tonight,” Parkway head coach Doug Hughes said afterwards. “Throughout the night, we didn’t do a good job of stopping dribble penetration. Our transition defense wasn’t that good, but overall, we made some plays down the stretch of the game, and that’s what good teams do: they find a way to win, and that’s what we did tonight.”

For most of the night, physicality played a major role. As Parkway was without two starters, senior Andrew Baker and sophomore Caleb Kinney, it was a battle in the paint. The Tigers held a major height advantage with two senior forwards, Tanner Hurley (6-2) and Brock Waitman (6-5); However, the Panthers stood up to the challenge, and won the rebounding battle.

Foul trouble gave the Tigers fits throughout, eventually lead to a trio of their starters fouling out in the final period. The Panthers were in the bonus with time still remaining in the first quarter, but a sub-par performance from the line, going 10 for 18 in the first half, saw them go into halftime with only a 29-23 lead. Overall, from the floor in the first half, the Panthers were just out of sorts, shooting only 8 of 29, and added 13 turnovers. Had it not been for their 28-to-12 advantage on the boards, the scoreboard would have looked much different going into halftime.

“It was physical going both ways,” Coach Hughes said. “Both teams had to adjust to the game, and I thought it had to be a tough game to officiate.”

Coming out of halftime, the Panthers looked lethargic, much like they did in the first quarter, and it was another difficult shooting display. They shot 3-for-11, however all three of their makes were from behind the 3-point line. After turning the ball over in four of their final five possessions of the third quarter, the Tigers only managed to outscore the Panthers by a bucket, and saw themselves trailing, 38-34, going into the fourth.

With just over a minute left, the game still hung in the balance as Parkway led 52-47. At that point, they were already in the double bonus, and junior Jack Wehe was sent to the line. He made both of his attempts, increasing the Panthers lead to seven, and a scuffle after the second made sent Preston Stober to the line where he sank both of his attempts as well. Ultimately, the Panthers compensated for their poor shooting performance on the night by going 12 for 14 from the foul line as the game came to a close.

Last year’s Midwest Athletic Conference leader in 3-point field goals made, Parkway’s Mason Baxter, had himself a night. He shot 6-for-11 from the field, and four of those came from behind the arc. He led the Panthers in scoring with 20 points.

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PARKWAY (64)

Gavin Stober 0-6 0-0 0, Dylan Hughes 0-5 3-6 3, Mason Baxter 6-11 4-4 20, Corey Walls 4-12 0-0 10, Logan Huff 0-1 1-2 1, Jack Wehe 1-5 5-8 8, Preston Stober 1-6 6-8 8, Justin Rice 0-3 0-3 0, Nick Hawk 3-4 8-10 14

WAYNESFIELD-GOSHEN (49)

Britton Elliot 1-5 3-4 5, Layton Campbell 3-7 8, Joel Rickle 1-4 0-3 3, Kale Kaufman 3-10 0-1 6, Jaden Maxwell 4-11 0-0 11, Brock Waitman 2-3 0-1 4, Tanner Hurley 5-11 2-7 12

Parkway 16 13 9 26 – 64

W-G 16 7 11 15 – 49

3-point field goals: PW 7-29 (Baxter 4) WF 6-22 (Maxwell 3); Rebounds: PW 44 WF 28; Assists: PW 10 WF 11; Fouls: PW 23 WF 26; Turnovers: PW 20 WF 14