GUYS MILLS — The first quarter of Friday night’s game between Saegertown and Maplewood was a high-speed, high-scoring eight-minute car chase.

Good for those watching. Bad for Maplewood.

“We set the wrong pace for that game,” said Tigers head coach Mark McElhinny. “That was not what we wanted to do.”

Indeed it wasn’t. During that first quarter, Saegertown developed a taste for scoring. And Maplewood just couldn’t match that appetite as the game went on, falling hard to the visiting Panthers 62-39.

“It was a momentum thing,” said Saegertown coach Greg Molnar. “Everybody started to score. And we can score. We’re a dangerous team, but we’re also the type of team that can finish with a 10-12 record if we’re not careful. But tonight we came to play.”

It was a back-and-forth battle through the first quarter. Never more than a bucket separated the two teams, and Saegertown led 18-17 by the time it was through.

Josh Ray provided the spark for the Panthers in that first quarter, getting some nice feeds under hoop while knocking in a couple put-backs to finish the period with 12.

“They were leaving me open,” said Ray. “And my teammates were doing a good job of getting me the ball.”

Ray would go on to lead the Panthers with 21 points, his highest total since putting up 33 against Cochranton on December 9.

That first quarter got Saegertown rolling. And they put up 17 more in the second quarter while holding the Tigers to five.

The Panthers kicked off the quarter with a 12-2 run that gave them a 30-19 lead.

Kyle Beatty got hot in the frame, knocking down nine points. That gave him 11 for the night. It might have been more, but he missed the second half with an injury to the ribs.

The third was another big quarter for Saegertown, which enjoyed an 11-point run through the middle part of the frame and led 52-31 going into the fourth.

Keenan Ellison had the hot hand for the Panthers in the third, scoring six points with some nice drives to the hoop.

“We couldn’t keep Ellison away from the basket,” McElhinny said.

He would end the game with 14 markers, six rebounds and four assists. One of those helpers was a nice over-the-head, no-look pass to Ray in the third quarter.

It was the ninth straight game that Ellison has scored in double figures.

“And this is the first season he’s played organized basketball,” said Molnar. “He’s getting the idea now. It’s amazing how far Keenan has come. That kid is all athlete.”

Jake Carter led Saegertown on the boards with eight rebounds.

For Maplewood, Don Bowes led the way with 12 points. Mark Kohnen had a nice seven-point spurt off the bench for the Tigers in the first quarter.

Other than that, coach McElhinny struggled to find a lot of bright spots after his team had its five-game winning streak come to an end.”

“We didn’t do anything well,” said McElhinny. “We didn’t defend well. We didn’t rebound well. We didn’t shoot well. And you give Saegertown credit, they did shoot the ball well.”

Saegertown improved to 10-8 overall and 8-5 in Region 3. Maplewood is now 9-10 overall and 7-6 in the conference.

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