The Oswego Panthers Boys Varsity Basketball Team lost to Oswego East Wolves, 57-49, in the annual Crosstown Game on Tuesday, Dec. 10. Over the past ten years, Oswego has a 9-9 record against East.
The Panthers came into the game with a 7-0 record overall (2-0 in the Southwest Prairie Conference), while the Wolves were 5-2 (2-0 in the Southwest Prairie Conference).
The first four minutes of the first quarter flew by with little fouling, and both teams trading misses back and forth due to tenacious defense. The final minutes of the first quarter were filled with scoring in the paint. Rithik Ganesan, senior forward, led the way for East, and Oswego’s senior guards and forward Joey Niesman, Jack Kahoun, and Connor McCance, respectively, led the way for the Panthers.
The second quarter was more of the same. The Panthers went into the half with a one-point lead by way of junior guard Brady Peterlin’s putback basket at the buzzer. Peterlin was set up by a steal by Niesman— who was seemingly in the middle of the action during every play of the game.
Most notably, senior guard Kobe Adams, the Panthers leading scorer this season, only played a few minutes in the first half due to two fouls he committed in the first quarter.
The start of the second half was a continuation of the first: both teams continued to struggle offensively while playing persistent defense. Senior guard Kevin House was a Panther who stood out defensively. House carried with the Wolves ball handler down the court every possession he had, and he consistently made hustle plays such as a few steals and rebounds over larger players. After the game, House commented on his goal defensively.
“Break them down, turn them every play, make their play harder so they can’t successfully run through ,” House said.
Despite House’s hounding the ball handler every play, the Panthers were the first team to let up defensively. The Wolves went into the fourth quarter with the lead.
The fouling picked up for both teams: both teams were in the bonus within 3 minutes of the quarter and the game became a battle of who could get to the free-throw line more. The Wolves defense stood tall in the end, as they only allowed three Panther trips to the free-throw line where only Adams was able to hit both of his free throws in one of his two trips. Adams, like the rest of the Panthers offense, was unable to get going offensively in this game, he finished with just six points. Niesman was the leading scorer for the Panthers with eleven points. Niesman commented on what the Wolves did to stifle the Panthers offense throughout the game.
“They were switching a lot and we drew up a plan to do certain things to get more open,” Niesman said. “We were unable to achieve the plan.”
House also commented on where the Panthers struggled.
“Offensive rebounds, … shots weren’t falling our way, … they stopped us from driving, setting picks, stopping us the lane, causing us to make turnovers.”
The Panthers determined to get back to their winning ways against the Minooka Indians (1-6 overall and 0-3 in the conference) on Dec. 20 at 6:30 PM in the Oswego High School Main Gym.