Panthers Boys End Regular Season With Loss To Powerful Fostoria

Maumee’s Carter Koepfler flies toward the baseket. MIRROR PHOTO BY JODY SMALLEY

BY JEREMY SCHNEIDER | MIRROR SPORTS — Plenty of times this season, the Maumee boys basketball team has started games strong, and it was no different against powerful Fostoria last week.

As often happens to the Panthers, though, the opponent makes adjustments, Maumee struggles to meet those changes and the game gets out of hand.

The Panthers held an early lead against the Redmen and were tied at the end of the first quarter, only to have Fostoria throw its game into another gear and race away with an 88-56 win.

“I was taught a long time ago in snowmobiling when you start losing control, you’ve got to gas it and not brake it,” said Maumee coach Ryan Osier. “That’s the mentality that we’ve got to build in them.”

The win clinched the Northern Buckeye Conference title for the Redmen, who finished the regular season 18-4 overall and 11-3 in the conference. Fostoria will begin the postseason as the second seed in the Division II district tournament at Liberty-Benton.

“The first game, they annihilated us,” Osier said of a 75-42 Fostoria win when the Redmen led 45-17 at halftime.

“He kept everything going (in the second game) until two or three minutes left in the game, and I take that as respect for us.”

Fostoria came in with two first-team All-NBC selections in Jordan Ferguson and conference player of the year Machi Johnson. Ferguson went for a game-high 31 points, 10 rebounds and six steals, and Johnson had 20 points. Jayceon Tucker added 15 points and five rebounds.

The Panthers (5-17, 2-12 NBC) led 12-6 early behind two 3-pointers from Will Kubicz. Fostoria closed the gap to tie the game at 19-19 by the end of the quarter, and the Redmen took a 49-31 lead into halftime after a dominant second quarter.

After its slow start, Fostoria turned up the pressure and speed, forcing Maumee into 24 turnovers and outscoring the Panthers 21-5 in transition. Fifty-eight of the Redmen’s points came in the paint.

Kubicz finished with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the floor, including four 3-pointers. Ben Kubicz added 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting with two 3s and six assists.

“What’s the old adage, ‘you don’t lose, you learn,’” Osier said. “The kids have matured. They went from sulking or pouting or their heads going down, to now they’re focused, they’re keyed in on what the coaches are saying.

“They believe in what we’re doing, even though the results aren’t on the victory end. Those results are coming.”

Maumee moved on to the Division II sectional tournament with a scheduled game at Clyde (6-16) on Tuesday. Right after the game against Fostoria, Osier was already focusing on the Fliers.

“We’re already there,” he said. “We’ve already watched 22 of their games, we went and watched them live. We have a game plan.”

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