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Bristol drops Mathews; still perfect in NAC

VIENNA — Two of the top teams in the Northeastern Athletic Conference squared off when Bristol visited Mathews on Tuesday. The Panthers proved to be too much for Mathews, as they handled the Mustangs, 64-43.

Four players scored in double figures as Bristol improved to 10-1 on the season with a 9-0 record in conference.

“We’ve consistently had four guys that have been there,” Bristol coach Craig Giesy said. “They’re all averaging in double figures. We space the ball around. We try to spread it around and work the ball.”

The Panthers got the ball moving early as four players scored in both the first and second quarters. Jake Erjavec, Nick Church, and seniors Seth Mooney and Matt Church helped Bristol take an 11-6 advantage into the second.

Senior Matt Stephens (14 points) ended a long scoring drought for both teams with a 3-pointer for Bristol making it 18-9 with three minutes left until halftime. Mooney scored down low and Jeremy Miller had a nice assist to Stephens in the paint.

Nick Church (15 points) and senior Mike Wiebe (15 points), who is Bristol’s best defender, also scored in the quarter helping Bristol take a 26-11 lead at the break. Senior Tyler Roscoe, who scored a game-high 21 points, led Mathews with seven points at the half.

Wiebe had the perfect shooter’s touch on a 3-pointer to begin the third. Nick Church was strong on the finish as he completed an and-one and the Panthers were rolling.

The Mustangs continued to battle. Dominic Greenwood made an impressive bank shot, and Vinny Sharp hustled to the hoop. Roscoe and Matt Church (10 points) exchanged back-to-back 3-pointers. Jordan Mahan made a lay-up just before the the third quarter buzzer to give the Panthers a 52-25 lead.

Mathews outscored Bristol 18-12 in the fourth. Kyle Powell drained one from downtown and Roscoe had a steal and a lay-in but it wasn’t enough for the Mustangs who dropped to 8-5 overall and 5-3 in conference play.

“It was a big game,” Mathews coach Michael Weymer said. “I think that Bristol is one of, if not the best, small school in the area. They are really well-coached. They work exceptionally hard. To beat a team like that, you have to match their energy. We were great on the boards early. Bristol came out in the third quarter a lot more hungry than us.”

“We are young. We start four sophomores. We have to learn how to win games like this. We have to go through a school like Bristol to get where we want to be.”

After winning a district championship last season, the Panthers seem primed for another deep playoff run.

“We missed a lot of shots early,” Giesy said. “We overcame some things. We did a good job of controlling the tempo for the most part.

“Mathews has some really good shooters. We wanted to get a hand in their face and limit them. We’ve been getting better every single game. Hopefully, we continue to do that going into the tournament.”

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