Leopards Nix Norton 77-58 to Capture Sectional Title – Boys Basketball
#3 Louisville 77, #6 Norton 58
The 3rd Seed Louisville Leopards downed the visiting 6th Seed Norton Panthers 77-58 in the DII Canton Boys Basketball Tournament Sectional Finals at Louisville High School Friday Night. With the victory, Louisville improves to 17-6 on the year and advances to play the 2nd Seed Akron Buchtel Griffins in the District Semifinals next Thursday.
Five different Panthers reached double digits on the night. Tyler Scott led Norton by scoring all of his team-high 13 points in the second half. Oppositely, Jourdain Roberts-lane scored all 12 of his points in the opening half. Dominick Reinhart scored in every period to finish with 11, while Christian Chetham and Taylor Warner each hit double figures with 10.
The two foes battled back-and-forth from the start with Louisville holding a slim 19-18 lead at the end of the first. The turning point in the game came in the second quarter, which started off much like the first. The Panthers managed to gain a 28-26 advantage after Roberts-lane forced a steal, grabbed an offensive rebound on the same possession, and was fouled on a putback with 3:43 left before halftime.
Following that, the Leopards flipped the switch and never trailed again. Louisville scored the next 12 points as part of a 20-2 run. Wahl drove straight down the lane to start the run and knot the game at 28-28. Then Zeller, who would finish with 9 points for the period, scored three consecutive baskets. He hit from NBA range on the left wing for three, stormed his way to the rack for two more, and added another score via a putback. Colton Jones ended the unanswered dozen with a three-pointer from the right wing to give the Leopards a double digit 38-28 advantage with 49 seconds left before the break.
Norton scored next, but Louisville’s Zuppe was fouled while shooting a three from the right corner. He made them pay by canning all three shots from the line and the Leopards went into the half up 41-30.
The onslaught continued into the second half with Davis Burick scoring a basket and Zeller scoring on a layup and completing the three-point play from the line. On the next possession, Zuppe stole a Norton pass and took it to the other end for a lay-in while being fouled. The bonus free throw gave Louisville a commanding 50-32 lead with 5:55 left in the third.
The Leopards blistered their lead to 20 by the end of the third quarter. The Panthers made things interesting by starting the final period on an 11-0 run to shrink the deficit to 62-53 with 3:38 to go. But they would get no closer as Louisville followed that with a 7-0 run to essentially put the game away.
With the victory, the Leopards are now 23-24 in Division II tournament play counting their previous stint in DII from 1988-2011. Louisville is now 51-81 in the postseason all-time dating back to records as early as 1932.
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UP NEXT: The 3rd Seed Leopards will next take on the 2nd Seed Akron Buchtel Griffins in the DII Canton District Finals on Thursday, March 8 at 7:00 PM from the Canton Memorial Fieldhouse.
Updated DII Canton District Tournament Bracket
LEOPARDS 77, PANTHERS 58
PANTHERS: Scott 6 1-1 13, Roberts-lane 5 1-1 12, Reinhart 2 7-8 11, Chatham 5 0-0 10, Warner 4 0-0 10, Marks 1 0-0 2, Fox 0 0-2 0. TOTAL 23 9-12 58.
3-Pointers (3): Warner 2, Roberts-lane
Team FT: 9-12 75%
LEOPARDS: Zeller 6 2-4 15, Wahl 5 2-2 14, Zuppe 3 6-6 12, Burick 3 3-4 9, C. Jones 3 0-0 8, Hartline 3 1-2 7, King 1 3-4 5, Mathie 1 1-2 3, Gronow 0 2-2 2, T. Jones 0 2-2 2. TOTAL 25 22-28 77.
3-Pointers (5): C. Jones 2, Wahl 2, Zeller
Team FT: 22-28 79%
Fouls: 20-10 Norton
Turnovers: 16-12 Norton
Records: Louisville 17-6