|Panthers roar deeper into tourney with win over Tigers|
By JIM LANGHAM • Progress Sportswriter
BOWLING GREEN – The Paulding Panther advanced deeper into post-season play on Thursday, March 6 with a convincing 53-36 win over Liberty Center in Division III District Sectional competition at Bowling Green State University.
The Tigers stayed with the local squad early but Paulding continued to nudge further away with a strong 17-7 performance in the second quarter.
The Paulding offense established itself early with a trey by Kyle Kauser in the first quarter sounding the alarm of the Paulding offense. In that quarter, Treston Gonzales tallied four points and Guy Harder connected on five points to lay the foundation for their strong performances in the contest.
Scoring-wise, Gonzales ended the game with 14 points and Guy Harder tallied 16 points to lead the Paulding attack.
One Liberty Center defensive accomplishment was to hold Paulding’s premier scorer Kyle Kauser to seven points for the contest. However, the local squad demonstrated its ability to produce weapons with the performances by Gonzales and Harder.
“We have a lot of boys on the team that can shoot well,” said Paulding head coach Shawn Brewer. “We demonstrated that tonight. When one guy gets held down, somebody else steps up. That balanced attack has been one of the important factors in our success in late season.”
As a team, Paulding continued its solid shooting, connecting on 19-41 shots from the field for 46 percent. On the other side of the ledger, the Panther defense held LC to 15-36 shooting for 42 percent.
Paulding nudged into a 12-11 lead at the end of the first quarter but its domination (17-7) in the second stanza left the Tigers reeling behind 29-18 at the half. Liberty Center outscored Paulding, 8-6, in a third quarter in an attempt to get back into the game, but Paulding pulled away 18-10 in the final moments of the game for the sound win.
Once again, Gonzales led the way for Paulding in that final quarter with three buckets.
“They were a good team, better than the final score shows,” said Brewer. “They tried to come at us numerous times but our boys kept turning them back. It was a good effort on everybody’s part again.
“I felt late in the season that we were coming together and could make a good run,” continued Brewer. “We know we have our work cut out on Saturday against an Ottawa-Glandorf team that is also coming on right now. They are always tourney-primed and that’s no different this year.
“Our guys are determined and working hard. I know they leave their hearts on the floor on Saturday. These are good, unselfish kids. We’re looking forward to taking on the Titans, a really sound program year after year,” added Brewer.