Jefferson’s Trey Smith (24) hits the game-winning jumper with just 1.7 seconds left on the clock as Parkway’s Matt Heindel challenges the shot. Jefferson came from behind to beat Parkway despite being held to just 12 first-half points. (Times Bulletin/Pat Agler)
BY SEAN LAFONTAINE
Times Bulletin Correspondent
ROCKFORD – The Parkway Panthers faced off against the Delphos Jefferson Wildcats in the opening round of the Chatt Insurance Holiday Tournament in Rockford on Friday night. Parkway started off hot, taking a sizeable lead in the first half. However a furious comeback and last-second three gave the Wildcats the 50-49 victory.
The Panthers had a 26-12 lead after the first half thanks to good three-point shooting and a strong defensive performance that led to Delphos Jefferson turnovers.
The Wildcats outscored the Panthers 15-10 in the third quarter to pull within nine, but in the fourth quarter Delphos Jefferson turned it on.
With3:30 left in the game and the score 45-35 in favor of Parkway, Ross Thompson hit back-to-back field goals to get Jefferson within six.
After a Parkway turnover, Jace Stokwell hit a lay-up to cut the lead to four. The Wildcats got another stop on the next possession, then Austin Jettinhoff hit a three to get the score to 45-44 in favor of the Panthers.
Delphos Jefferson fouled Brant Barna to put him on the line for two shots. The senior stepped up and hit both free throws to extend the lead to 47-44.
The Panthers finally got a defensive stop which forced the Wildcats to foul Matt Heindel. Heindel hit the first but missed the second. Delphos Jefferson responded with another three by Jettinghoff to again cut the Panther lead to one, 48-47.
Delphos Jefferson fouled Tanner Bates on the inbounds pass. Bates also hit the first shot but missed the second, leaving the door open for the Wildcats who took advantage.
With time winding down, Trey Smith hit a huge three to give Delphos Jefferson a 50-49 lead with 1.4 seconds left to play.
The Panthers had one last shot on the inbounds play, but the Bates three rolled around and out, giving the Wildcats the 50-49 comeback victory.
After the game, Parkway coach Rick Hickman talked about his team’s struggles in the last quarter of the game.
“We had a lot of turnovers in the second half after we didn’t have any in the first and that was really the difference,” said Hickman. “I thought at times our defense wasn’t as sharp as it should have been. We got in some foul trouble and they took advantage at the free throw line. Any little thing when you lose by one ends up making a big difference.”
Barna led the Panthers with 15 points, while Heindel and Bathes chipped in with 13 and 11 respectively.
On the other side, Marc Smith talked about his team’s triumph in the fourth quarter.
“I wasn’t surprised we got off to a slow start because we had a lot of distractions and practice time missed this past week,” said Smith. “There was not ranting or raving at halftime, I just told the kids we were getting what we deserved. Our kids executed a variety of different presses in the second half. They hit some big shots, but they were executed they way we wanted them to be.”
Smith led all scorers with 20 points, while Jettinghoff added 12 for the Wildcats.
With the win, the Wildcats will move on to play Finneytown who defeated Fairlawn in the first game 75-72 in overtime. The championship game between the two teams will take place at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Parkway Panthers will play Fairlawn in the consolation game Saturday, which is scheduled to tip-off at 4:40 p.m.
Score by quarters
Jefferson 6 6 15 23- 50
Parkway 12 14 10 13- 49
Fitch 0, Rice 0, Hicks 2, Mox 2, Thompson 9, Stockwell 5, Jettinghoff 12, Smith 20
Gibson 0, Heindel 13, B. Barna 15, Schaffner 0, Bates 11, B. Adams 5, Dennison 2, A. Adams 3