Champion sinks PV in third

Tribune Chronicle / Marc Weems Chase Wheelock (2) of Champion shoots over Jonah Wilkerson (24) of Pymatuning Valley Saturday night.

CHAMPION — A monster third quarter by the Champion Golden Flashes got them a non-conference win over Pymatuning Valley, 71-62, Saturday night on the Flashes floor.

“We tried to pressure them a bit and see if we could get them out of rhythm a little bit,” Champion coach Nathan Kish said. “It ended up working out in our favor. We tried to change the pace and it worked in that third quarter.”

The Lakers (4-4) led 17-15 after the first quarter and 34-28 at halftime. Champion (4-4) started the second quarter with an 8-2 run, but PV countered with an 11-2 run of its own during the quarter.

Champion made four 3-pointers in the third quarter and made nine for the game.

“It was even bad defense for us. It was some bad turnovers. We got out of sorts on offense and didn’t make the right decisions,” PV coach Ryan Shontz said about that third quarter. “In my brain it was six (turnovers), it may have been three. Match that up with them (Champion) going unconscious from three, that’s hard to come back from.”

Pymatuning Valley did not go home without a fight. The lead got to as much as 65-49 in favor of Champion in the fourth quarter before the Lakers made a run.

PV took a timeout at the 5:02 mark in the fourth quarter, then began a slow climb back into the game. Trent Panak was huge, leading the Lakers with 16 points, including eight in the fourth quarter.

The Lakers went on a 10-0 run to the 3:11 mark and trailed by just six at that point. PV’s comeback came as close as 67-62 before Champion pulled away.

“This is one of the first games that we’ve had a lot energy on the court. When they made shots, keep going and keep shooting,” Kish said. “We go through spurts where we play really, really good and then we have three-minute stretches where we aren’t good. I just try to calm them down and get a good shot.”

The Flashes had balanced scoring led by Drake Batcho with 20 points, Chase Wheelock with 19, Gabe Deuble with 15 and Joe Abramovich with 12.

Austin Roberts baked Panak for PV with 15 points. Jacob Freeman scored 11.