The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

VW Cougars pull away from Parkway

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

After a pair of two point losses over the weekend, Van Wert was looking for a bounce back victory and the Cougars got one Tuesday night.

Behind a rugged defense and 21 points by Aidan Pratt, Van Wert defeated Parkway 64-45 at the Cougars Den. The win improved Van Wert’s record to 9-6, while Parkway fell to 5-11 on the season.

Van Wert senior guard Nate Phillips scored 15 points against Parkway. Bob Barnes/file photo

Parkway’s Landon May scored six points in the opening quarter but Pratt scored eight points, while Nate Phillips added five. Carson Smith closed the period with a half court shot that beat the buzzer and gave the Cougars a 18-11 lead.

Van Wert stretched the lead to 30-18 more than midway through the second quarter but five straight points by Trevor Sterns helped Parkway close the gap to 30-23 at halftime.

“The guys saw the floor very well especially against some zones that we haven’t seen this year, but they had the willingness to share the ball and find the open spots and execute from there,” Van Wert head coach Ben Laudick said. “We got contributions from lots of different guys tonight.”

Luke Wessell scored seven of his nine points in the third quarter, including a layup that capped a 9-0 start to the quarter and gave Van Wert a 39-23 lead. Meanwhile, the Cougars held Parkway to just seven points in the period, including a pair of baskets by Trent Rollins.

Phillips added seven points of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, Pratt had a two-handed slam bunk and AJ Proffitt and Conner Campbell came off the bench and each hit triples. The Cougars finished 23-of-48 from the floor and a season best 11-of-13 from the foul line with 21 rebounds and just three turnovers. Parkway was 19-of-37 shooting and 5-of-7 from the foul line with 20 rebounds and 16 turnovers.

“What pleases us most is our second half defense,” Laudick said. “In the first half we did some things correctly most of the way but we didn’t complete our objectives. In the second half we did a really good job of forcing Parkway into taking some tough shots or forcing them to their weaknesses which ultimately led to some missed shots and turnovers.”

Parkway will play at No. 8 Marion Local on Friday while the Cougars will travel to Shawnee the same night.

“I’ve seen Shawnee twice this year and when they’re on they’re on,” Laudick said. “Both times I saw them they scored over 70 points. We’ll have our work cut out for us – they’ve had their highs and lows but they have a good group of guys who can play basketball.”

Box score

Van Wert 18 12 13 21 – 64
Parkway 11 12 7 15 – 45

Van Wert: 6-1-15; AJ Proffitt 1-0-3; Luke Wessell 4-1-9; Carson Smith 3-2-9; Garett Gunter 2-0-4; Aidan Pratt 7-7-21; Conner Campbell 1-0-3

Parkway: Trevor Stearns 5-1-11; Brayden Bruns 1-0-3; Fletcher Smith 1-1-3; Landon May 6-1-13; Caiden Berry 2-2-7; Trent Rollins 4-0-8

JV: Parkway 41-29

POSTED: 01/25/23 at 4:37 am. FILED UNDER: Sports