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Blankenship’s FTs lift Panthers over Mustangs, 54-53

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

CHESAPEAKE — For most of the season, the Chesapeake Panthers have made their living by the 3-point goal.
The main long-range shooter has been Levi Blankenship, but it was the short shot and the free throws that provided the Panthers with a thrilling 54-53 win over the Westfall Mustangs in the Division 3 sectional tournament on Monday.
Blankenship — who hit a pair of 3-pointers and scored 19 points — sank two foul shots with 6.2 seconds to play that gave his team the win as they advanced to the sectional finals on Friday at Piketon.
Chesapeake (8-11) used 6 points by Nathan Cox and 5 more from Blankenship including one of his triples as they took an 18-14 first quarter lead.
Casey Cline hit two 3-pointers and scored 9 points to keep the Mustangs close.
Blankenship and Caleb Schneider each hit 3-pointers and Dannie Maynard made two baskets as the Panthers built a 34-23 halftime lead.
But the offense went cold in the third quarter with just 8 points while Cline hit another trey and scored 7 points as Westfall got within 42-38.
In the fourth quarter, Luke Blackburn scored with 2:58 left to give Westfall a 49-48 lead and a layup by Cline with 52 seconds to play made it 53-50.
Maynard’s driving layup with 33 seconds to play cut the deficit to 53-52. The Mustangs missed two foul shots seven seconds later and the Panthers set up a play for Blankenship who was fouled driving to the basket.
After Blankenship made his two free throws to put the Panthers up, Westfall’s final attempt from long range came up shot as the buzzer sounded.
Besides Blankenship, Cox finished with 10 points while Maynard and Schneider scored 8 points each.
Cline had 20 points for Westfall (7-14).
Westfall 14 9 15 15 = 53
Chesapeake 18 16 8 12 = 54
WESTFALL (7-14): Casey Cline 4 3 3-4 20, T Wolfe 1 1 1-2 6, Austin Nunemaker 0 1 0-2 3, T Shipley 1 1 0-0 5, S Gifford 1 0 0-0 2, Lucas Blackburn 3 0 5-8 11. Totals: 11 6 10-18 53. Fouls: 16. Fouled out: Nunemaker.
CHESAPEAKE (8-11): Caleb Schneider 2 1 1-2 8, Nathan Cox 5 0 0-1 10, Levi Blankenship 3 2 7-8 19, Dannie Maynard 3 0 2-3 8, J.D. Daniels 1 0 0-0 2, Jacob Lemley 0 1 1-2 4, Ben Bragg 0 0 3-4 3. Totals: 14 4 14-20 54. Fouls: 19. Fouls Out: Schneider.