BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — When Perrysburg and Maumee meet in any athletic event, there are no secrets.
The coaches in purple know exactly what to expect, as do the coaches in gold and black.
So when Panthers boys basketball coach Ryan Osier said he thought they had a good game plan against the Yellow Jackets, there’s more than enough reason to believe him.
For at least part of the third quarter of last Friday’s game, Maumee ran its game plan and frustrated the Jackets, closing a 19-point halftime game to just 10 at one time.
The gulf was simply too large to cross, however, and Perrysburg dusted itself off, opened up another large lead and cruised to a 65-41 win in a Northern Lakes League contest.
“That third quarter is what we had in the game plan for the whole game, so coming out slow and not being physical is not what we had practiced all week,” Osier said. “It was nice seeing them get back to the game plan even though we were down.”
The Jackets came into the game putting up an average of 72 points in its first four games. Just three nights prior to traveling to Maumee, they scored 83 points against Whitmer.
The Panthers rally was spearheaded on the defensive end, where they finally matched the physical play of the Yellow Jackets. Junior guard Kyle Arndt also came out of the break with renewed energy, harassing the Perrysburg ball handler and keeping the Jackets from getting too comfortable.
“We had a really good game plan … to just wear them out,” Osier said. “It wasn’t so much to make them tired, but we thought they’d maybe make a mistake or two.
“Kyle doing that ball pressure, we denied everyone except the one person we wanted to bring the ball up the court. We thought that would get them out of their offense. It worked for most of the night.”
It was a welcome change from the start of the game, when the Panthers (0-3 overall, 0-3 NLL) trailed 20-9 after one quarter and 32-13 at halftime. Perrysburg appeared to get its hands on every rebound and every loose ball.
“We felt like with their height and physicality, we had to match them,” Osier said. “In that first half, we just didn’t. In the third quarter, we did but not enough to win the game. It’s something to build on.”
Maumee struggled on the glass, getting outrebounded and out-muscled in the paint. Osier admitted it looked as if his squad took a step back in rebounding and boxing out, but he also said it could be a case of a season schedule that’s taken a while to get rolling.
“Maybe that’s because we’ve only had three games in three weeks. In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to play some games, get back to that.
“You get tired of beating each other up in practice every day. They know each other well enough to know they can get by without doing something.”
Maumee will play catchup with the schedule — following the Perrysburg game, the Panthers play five games in seven days until an eight-day break around New Year’s Day.
The Jackets height advantage certainly didn’t hurt their cause — while Maumee started two players listed at 6-foot-2 in R.J. McCoy and Cole Graetz, Perrysburg’s regular rotation included five players standing at least 6-3.
“They were everything we expected,” Osier said. “They’re a complete team. They play well together.
“I do think we frustrated them in that third quarter. That’s what we were hoping for. Coach Boyce is a legend, and he makes the adjustments. We tried to anticipate those.
“The reality is, they just got back to playing basketball. They did those little things that made up the difference in the first half and got up big again.”
McCoy had 14 points and four rebounds to pace the Panthers. Jaden Walker had nine points, four rebounds and four assists, and Kyle Arndt added nine points and four boards.
“(McCoy) started a little slow, but his defense got him into the game,” Osier said. “He should, he’s that athletic to let his defense talk to him, then the other stuff will follow.”