BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — It was a less-than-ideal situation for Maumee when it traveled to Northwood for a non-conference boys basketball game last week.
All it took was one quarter for the Panthers to escape with a 52-40 win, however.
Just the night before, Maumee outlasted league rival Springfield in a thrilling overtime game and the end of the week brought a revenge matchup against Napoleon. Right in the middle were the Rangers.
After getting off to a hot start and leading 10-2, the Panthers went ice cold and trailed by as many as nine points.
All that did, though, was set up an incredible fourth quarter for Maumee, which outscored Northwood 21-2 in the final frame.
“We just couldn’t get in a rhythm,” said Panthers coach Ryan Osier. “I don’t know if it was because we were on a high from the Springfield win, but then that fourth quarter you could just tell we were going to go.”
Osier counted on his team, which routinely goes nine deep, outlasting the younger Rangers, who only go six or seven deep into their bench.
When Osier saw the core of the Northwood lineup not coming out of the game, he knew the Panthers had the host team right where they wanted them.
“We knew we could tire them out no matter what style we played,” Osier said. “Even though our shots weren’t falling, we were executing. That fourth quarter was all about putting the heat on.”
Jaden Walker led the way with 13 points and six rebounds, hitting 5-of-7 from the field and 3-of-5 from 3-point range.
R.J. McCoy added 12 points and five boards, going 6-of-12 from the floor.
As a team, the Panthers shot 47 percent from the field, a solid number after shooting a frigid 30 percent in the first half.
“It was gut-wrenching the first three quarters because you know your guys are working hard – the shots weren’t just falling,” Osier said.
Cole Graetz and Kyle Arndt each scored eight points. Graetz completed his stat line with six rebounds and five steals, while Arndt added four boards.
The win was another feather in the Panthers’ cap for a season that’s quickly becoming one to remember for the program.
After starting the week with the win over Springfield, Osier’s message was simple – every game in the season matters, no matter the opponent, night or situation.
“It always has that feeling of a trap game,” Osier said. “You go from this great win against Springfield in overtime. The message was, that game doesn’t mean anything unless we come out and do it again the next night.”