LEIPSIC – Thursday night’s Putnam County League boys’ basketball matchup between Leipsic and Pandora-Gilboa probably would not be described as an offensive exhibition.
Early on, it looked as if there were lids on the baskets.
However, in the second half, visiting Pandora-Gilboa churned out enough offense and did enough at the free throw line to pull away for a 55-48 victory over Leipsic.
With the win, P-G improves to 5-3 overall and 1-1 in the PCL. Leipsic slips to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in PCL action.
Jared Breece led P-G with 16 points and four assists. Riley Larcom had 10 points, five assists and five rebounds. Austin Miller added 10 points, including two 3-pointers for the Rockets. Breece and Larcom are the only two returning letter winners from last season.
Dylan Schroeder led Leipsic with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Teammate Cole Rieman added 10 points and six boards.
For the game, P-G shot 39 percent from the field. Leipsic countered with 27-percent shooting from the floor.
“We had some really good looks,” P-G coach Joe Braidic said. “We just couldn’t get them to go. Give some credit to them for playing good defense. Jared (Breece) came out pretty strong, offensively, and played pretty well the whole game. So, that kind of carried us through.”
Both teams got off to a slow start.
However, P-G finally got it going, at least temporarily, pulling out to an 8-2 lead. Breece hit two 3-pointers in that short spurt by the Rockets. Breece scored eight points in the first quarter.
P-G led 10-5 by the end of the first quarter. Leipsic was just 2 of 12 shooting from the field in the first eight minutes of action.
Just moments into the second quarter, Tyler Hiegel (six points, four rebounds) hit a 3-pointer from the right wing to cut the P-G lead to 10-8.
The Rockets pulled back out to a 17-12 by the break. For the half, Leipsic was just 5 of 29 shooting from the field for a dismal 17 percent. P-G was 7 of 24 from the floor for just 29 percent.
“We talked about being aggressive (at halftime),” Leipsic coach Chris Kuhlman said. “I felt like we were feeling them out, almost, in the first quarter, instead of being aggressive, like our game plan was. Credit to them (P-G). They had a good
game plan. They took away some things we thought we could do. It was frustrating, because we were getting open looks and they weren’t going in.”
P-G extended its lead to 23-14 early into the second half, largely in part to Miller’s third 3-pointer of the contest.
Breece pushed the lead to 25-14 at the 5:56 mark of the third quarter with two free throws.
The Rockets led 36-24 at the end of the third quarter. Miller scored seven points for P-G in the third stanza. Leipsic was just 3 of 14 shooting from the floor.
P-G pushed its lead to 16, 42-26, just moments into the fourth quarter. Three fast-break buckets ignited the P-G run. That lead proved to be the largest for the Rockets on the night.
Leipsic did not go away.
The Vikings cut it to 44-37 on a 3-pointer by Rieman with 3:40 left to play in the game.
Then, with 1:16 left to play, Sickmiller sunk a 10-footer from the right corner to cut the P-G lead to 47-42.
However, the Rockets hit free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
P-G came into the contest shooting less than 50 percent from the free throw line. However, Thursday night, the Rockets made good on 17 of 23 shots from the charity stripe for 74 percent.
P-G turned the ball over 10 times on the night, while Leipsic turned it over nine times.
“It was a credit to our guys in the second half,” Kuhlman added. “After scoring just 12 points in the first half, we did a lot better in the second half.”
The Rockets did not want to settle on outside shots against Leipsic.
“Our game plan is always to try to get it inside,” Braidic said. “The first half, they went to that 1-3-1 zone. We didn’t get to the baseline enough. We just threw it around the perimeter and shot threes; and that’s not who we are.”