ROCKFORD — A lay-up by Parkway’s Derek Luth with 25 seconds left proved to be the difference in the Panthers’ stunning win over New Bremen on Friday night.
Parkway picked up only its second win of the season with a 52-51 victory over the Cardinals.
“They were tougher than us,” Cardinals head coach Adam Dougherty said. “That was the difference. They were tougher and competed harder and they wanted it more and we took it. It was that way the entire night. No matter what it was it was like that the entire night.”
New Bremen had two chances in the last 10 seconds to pull out the victory. With seven and a half seconds left Luke Schwieterman had two free throws and missed both.
Luth was fouled with 4.8 seconds left but also missed both free throws. New Bremen got the rebound and called timeout with 3.7 seconds left.
An off balance shot by Derek Bornhorst missed, giving the Panthers the unlikely victory over a New Bremen team thatmathematically had —albeit a remote — shot at a MAC title tie.
“It was our lack of toughness and wanting to do the right thing,” Dougherty said. “We were bad defensively. We were really bad defensively. The free throw misses shouldn’t have mattered, but that was also toughness. We are not tough enough to go up there and step up and knock down the tosses.”
In the fourth quarter the Cardinals were only 9 of 18 from the line and overall they were 14 of 26.
In the first quarter Parkway didn’t have any problems getting the ball inside as they scored six of their seven baskets on layups. Luth had five of the layups and scored a free throw in the second quarter to have 11 points at halftime. He doubled that in the second half for a game high 22 points.
"Luth and (Riley) Bransteter killed us,” Dougherty said. “They were just so physical. I’m embarrassed at how much more physical they were than us. We only had four offensive rebounds at halftime and that shows a lack of effort.”
New Bremen kept the lead at six points, 24-18, through the first half of the second quarter, but Parkway stepped up their defense to close the deficit to 29-27 at halftime.
“This is late February and we still are not tough enough,” Dougherty said. “We should be concerned. The great part is that it is not February 29 and it is not over but it is getting close. I still believe in us. Maybe I am crazy but I still believe in us. I still think we can make a run and play in March but time is running out.”
New Bremen (11-7 and 4-4 in the MAC) entertains Spencerville tonight and Fort Recovery next Friday to end the regular season.