BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Entering last week’s Division II boys basketball sectional tournament, Maumee coach Ryan Osier felt as though he knew what his team needed to do for a pair of wins.
The game plan worked perfectly in a semifinal win over Bryan, and while the Panthers managed to slow down top-seeded Rossford in the final, the Bulldogs found a way to overcome a slow-it-down, grind-it-out style for the win.
Maumee had one of its best shooting nights of the season in a 46-34 win over Bryan at Anthony Wayne High School, hitting 60 percent from 2-point range and making 10-of-13 from the free-throw line. The Panthers also outscored Bryan 28-12 in the paint.
“Bryan is a very scrappy team; we felt we had to take that away from them,” Osier said. “We did that by running our offense very effectively. I think we really had them chasing us.
“I felt like in the second half we really began wearing them down and they had to take risks. When they took risks, we ran the clock or got easy baskets.”
Maumee scored 28 of its 46 points after halftime.
Kyle Arndt led three players in double figures with 14 points and added five rebounds and two steals. Jaden Walker and Jayvon Hutchinson each contributed 13 points. Hutch-inson had five boards and two steals and Walker had four boards and three assists.
Those three players combined to hit 15-of-24 from 2-point range (62.5 percent) and all 10 Panthers free throws.
That win set up a matchup against Northern Buckeye Conference champion Rossford, which came in averaging around 60 points per game. While the Panthers held the Bulldogs to about half of its average, Rossford still pulled out a 32-20 win.
“We knew the best way to beat them was by slowing the game down and not forcing everything,” Osier said. “They have four players that were all-district and received league awards. We had to control the game.
“Rossford did a great job playing that style. We did hold them to their lowest total; however, they really didn’t mind it as they came out on top. If other teams do this, they can handle it. They are a good team.”
Maumee went down early, trailing 11-4 after the first quarter, but the Panthers rallied to within 15-11 by halftime. The Bulldogs put the game away with an 11-5 edge in the fourth.
Arndt led the Panthers with nine points, four rebounds and two steals. Ayden McCarthy and Hutchinson had four points apiece and Walker added three.
Maumee hit only 33 percent from the floor while being outrebounded 22-13 and outscored 24-10 in the paint.
The loss capped the end of a 6-18 season as well as the high school careers for seven seniors; – Arndt, Hutchinson, McCarthy, Walker, Austin Hamilton, Preston Johnson and Caden Brown.
Walker ended his career with 601 points, 282 rebounds and 126 assists in 72 varsity games. He was named third-team All-Northern Lakes League and second-team all-district.
Hutchinson and Arndt were both named honorable mention all-district. Hutchin-son finished his career with 270 points, 275 rebounds and 101 assists in 73 games, while Arndt totaled 469 points, 170 rebounds and 90 assists in 60 games.
When asked what this senior class’s legacy will be, Osier’s answer was one word – greatness.
“I define greatness as giving it everything you got and keep getting back up and striving to get better and better. These student-athletes have done that,” Osier said. “Great kids on and off the court.
“We have a lot of talent in the program moving forward; however, we have a lot of spots open for the next year. I and my staff are looking forward to it, as the freshman team went 13-7 and the JV team just kept getting better and better.”