BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — When last year’s Maumee boys basketball team won eight games – its largest win total in nearly a decade – varsity coach Ryan Osier thought he had the program rolling in the right direction.
If the first two games of this season are any indication, Osier’s hunch was right on the money.
The Panthers opened this season facing a pair of Toledo City League foes, downing Waite, 51-33, and Woodward, 64-43.
It’s the first 2-0 start for Maumee since 2018.
While Osier isn’t certain if scheduling back-to-back City League teams to open the schedule was intentional, facing the Indians and Polar Bears can only help the Panthers down the road.
“We’ve got Springfield in our league, Napoleon likes to pressure, obviously Northview, every (Northern Lakes League) team likes to put pressure on us,” Osier said.
“We knew (Woodward) was going to put pressure on us for the full game, and that’s going to help us. I like the City League and what they’re doing. They’re coming.”
Through their first two games, Maumee has been efficient from the floor, shooting an even 50 percent. From 3-point range, the Panthers are 11-of-31 (35.5 percent), including a 7-of-17 night against Woodward. They’re also outrebounding opponents 56-36.
Maumee got out to big leads in both games – leading Waite, 44-26, at the half and Woodward, 34-17 – but those large spreads have put the Panthers in unfamiliar territory, something Osier has noted.
“We’re not used to being up by 20 and that’s what happened the first two games,” Osier said. “When we’re in tight games, we can’t just put up shots. That was the frustrating thing – we played well the first, second, third quarters and then we did some of our own stuff. We cannot do that.
“We’ve got big, big games coming up. We can never just do our own things. I don’t care what the score is, we’re trying to build a program here, not individuals.”
Osier is working with a senior-laden roster, and so far, 11 players have seen the court with seven registering 20 or more minutes over the course of the two games.
“We’re a deep bench,” Osier said. “I’ve got to get these subs in, I’ve got to get a rotation. I’ve got to get a flow to what we’re doing.”
Senior guard Kyle Arndt has gotten off to a hot start, leading the Panthers with 17 points against Wood-ward and adding 12 points against Waite.
He’s gone 14-of-24 from the field with 12 rebounds, nine assists and four steals. He also leads Maumee with 49 minutes of court time.
“I’d like to give him a little more of a breather because it’s a lot to ask of an athlete to be not only one of our offensive players but one of our best defenders, too; that’s a lot to put on one player,” Osier said. “We’re trying to get our combinations. We’re trying to build our chemistry.
“Kyle’s just an athlete. He loves basketball. He loves competing. You can’t go wrong with a player like that.”
Jaden Walker led the Panthers against Waite, totaling 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting. He had nine points against the Polar Bears.
Caelyn Crowley had 10 points against Waite and six against Woodward. Caden Brown added 10 points against Woodward.
Jayvon Hutchinson has totaled 16 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and four steals in the two games.
After the hot start, the Panthers had a six-day reprieve between games and will host Napoleon on Friday night.
“There are some bad habits out there that we do need to correct, but ultimately, they’re doing what we’re asking them to do,” Osier said. “Those are coachable things that kids are doing.
“I’m pretty happy being 2-0, so we’ll look forward to Friday night. It’s exciting to see what is in front of us.”