Guysinger hits two free throws, SE knocks off Shermans
At the beginning of the season, I felt like the SVC standings would be Piketon at the top with great parity to follow. I made the comment that I thought second place could contain as high as four losses. To Uniotoâ€™s credit, they totally discredited this comment through the first eight SVC games as they dropped only a tight decision at Piketon. The Shermans constantly found a way to win the close games. Be it triple OT with Westfall, the two point win against Paint Valley, the three-point win over Huntington, or the miracle comeback down 17 in the second half against Zane Trace, Unioto has continuously made enough plays to keep posting wins. Tuesday night at Southeastern, it was the Panthers who finally found a way to make the extra plays to pull out a 44-43 win.
The first half played out as many would have predicted. Unioto was able to keep the game fairly fast as the three-point shot was falling, three of which from Christian Dunkle, and Unioto opened a comfortable advantage. Uniotoâ€™s halftime lead was 27-20; however, this probably seemed like a small victory for the Panthers because the gameâ€™s momentum felt as if Unioto was close to stretching the lead to double-figures but were unable to do so.
The halftime adjustment for Southeastern was interesting. Anytime you are trying to pull an upset, you would prefer to slow the pace. The problem for Southeastern was the fact that their guards were having trouble maintaining possession against the Unioto pressure. In the second half, Southeastern kept the game slow with the use of their zone defense. They did have a lot of trouble rebounding out of the zone, but Unioto was unable to get any consistent offensive flow going in the final two periods. Offensively, Southeastern was just the opposite. They started pushing the ball in transition getting out in front of the Unioto defense and creating some easier opportunities to score.
This strategy helped the Panthers grab their first lead at 34-33 on a Nick Kellough bucket with 2:10 to go in the third quarter. The two teams would eventually be tied at 36-36 at the end of three, and the final few seconds, which led to this tie, I felt was an extremely vital stretch in the game. Unioto had taken the lead 36-34 after a three-pointer by Brick Davis and had regained possession. The Shermans were holding for the final shot, but poor execution of time and score saw Unioto take their chance too early. Unioto missed the shot and Kellough leaked out for a lay-up to tie the game. Southeastern also had the arrow to start the fourth quarter, and this run eventually saw SE take a 40- 36 lead.
Unioto responded to take the lead 43-42. They had a chance to extend the lead at the line, but they were unable to convert. On the ensuing possession, Southeasternâ€™s Josh Guysinger, who had already knocked down a big three and scored a nice drive during the SEâ€™s second half push, was fouled with 13.6 seconds remaining. Following a Unioto timeout, the Southeastern senior calmly stepped to the line and knocked down both free throws to give SE the 44-43 lead. Unioto had one final look, but a Davis three from the right corner hit just short and Southeastern rebounded the miss to secure the win.