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Panthers face Garaway in Div. III regional rematch

Chesapeake Panthers’ Nathan Copley (4) drives toward the foul line against the Piketon defense. The Panthers beat Piketon 68-52 to reach the Division III regional semifinals at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Ohio University against Sugarcreek Garaway in a rematch of last year. (The Ironton Tribune / Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

CHESAPEAKE — It’s Chesapeake vs. Sugarcreek Garaway Part 2.

The Panthers and Pirates are right back where they were a year ago as the two teams meet in the Division III Regional Semifinals for the second straight season.

Last year, Chesapeake beat Garaway 52-51. They two teams will face each other again at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Ohio University Convocation Center.

The Panthers (21-1) return three starters from last year while the Pirates (20-3) have four starters back.

The game will match contrasting styles, but only to a point. The Panthers prefer to use their defense to pressure opponents and ignite their running game.

Garaway runs a disciplined offense that is looking for a high-percentage shot, but Panthers’ coach Ryan Davis said the Pirates aren’t one-dimensional.

“They try to get the looks they want, but they’ll run if they get the chance,” said Davis.

Each team features a district player of the year. Chesapeake has 6-foot-2 senior guard Nathan Copley while the Pirates feature 6-8 senior center Paul Honigford.

Garaway has a balanced offense other than Honigford who scores at a 16.6 clip and grabs 9.5 rebounds.

Hunter Shaw and Ryan Troyer both average 9.0 points a game, Duane Troyer 8.0 points and 4.0 assists and Tanner Klein 4.0 points an outing.

But the Pirates are known more for their defense than their offense.

“They’re quick and strong. They get up in you defensively. They’re a good defensive team,” said Davis.

Chesapeake beat Piketon 68-52 in the district finals and Garaway beat St. Clairsville 42-33 in their district title game.

The winner will advance to the regional championship game at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Wednesday’s second semifinal game has Wheelersburg playing Portsmouth at 8 p.m.