(January 30th, 2015) – STRYKER: In a game wholly capable of shaking the foundations of the Buckeye Border Conference (BBC), Fayette traveled to Stryker to go against the Panthers.
What resulted from the match-up gave cause to a few tremors that ripped through the league. In a contest that went into double overtime, Stryker was able to upset the Eagle boys for a 53-49 victory.
This contest was a tight one right up until its closing moments, beginning in the first quarter. The two BBC powers traded baskets throughout the period, with Fayette claiming the first real advantage of the game. They led 11-10 by the conclusion of the opening quarter. In the second frame, Stryker would gain the upper hand, if only slightly. The Panthers clung to a 19-17 lead at the half.
Coming out of the locker rooms, both squads refused to back down. It showed on the scoreboard, as the Panthers and Eagles fought their way to a 34-34 score heading into the fourth and final period. Except that it wasn’t the final period, due mainly to stellar defensive performances on each end of the floor. Neither Stryker nor Fayette could get their offense going in the fourth stanza, with each team settling for 5 points. And overtime.
The first extra period saw a continuation of the defensive showdown from the fourth quarter. Again, each time was only allowed 5 points. This necessitated another overtime. That’s when the Panthers pounced. Outscoring the boys of Fayette 9-5 in the second overtime, Stryker stole a win out from under Fayette.
The contest was a clean one. Both Stryker and Fayette managed to turn the ball over just 8 times. Given the aggressive nature of the defenses involved, as well as the length of the game, this statistic is simply astounding.
Free throw shooting really hurt the Eagles. Not only did they shoot below 50% from the line, but they only took 9 attempts in the entire game. Stryker connected on 10 of their 14 shots from the charity stripe, good for a 71% success rate. That also gave the Panthers more makes from the line than Fayette attempted, a stat the usually translates to a victory.
Parker Ruffer, a Stryker senior, led all scorers with 18 points. His teammate, Tanner Clingaman, put up 11 points on the evening. Fellow Panther Israel Aguilar knocked down a pair of threes on his way to 8 points.
Koby Biddix hit 5 triples, as the Fayette senior managed 17 points against the stout Stryker defense. Another Eagle Alec Bost made 3 three-point shots as he totaled 11 points. Tristan Bates and Jared Seiler each scored 8 points in the loss.
Stryker’s victory brings a bit of clarity to a very muddled hierarchy in the BBC, at least for the moment. The Panthers are firmly in the drivers seat for a conference title, with a 9-6 record with a 5-1 mark in league play. Pettisville also has just a single conference loss, standing at 7-8 overall, and a 5-1 record in the BBC. Fayette now needs help to get back into the race, sporting a 9-4 record on the season, but a 3-2 standing in the conference. With the Eagles two losses delivered at the hands of Pettisville and Stryker, even another conference loss for both the Panthers and Blackbirds may not be enough for Fayette to claim BBC supremacy.