Three weeks ago, Newfane got off to a hot start against the Tigers. They built an 11-point lead in the second quarter, only to see Akron pull to within five at the break. Things would only get even worse in the third quarter, as the Panthers were outscored by 16 points in what ended in a 53-50 home loss. The rematch was nearly identical in the first half, but then Newfane flipped the script on the Tigers after returning from the locker room for the third quarter.
Bryan Geise scored a game-high 21 points to lead Newfane past Akron, 52-37, moving the Panthers into second place tie in the N-O with the Tigers, who still has a date with league unbeaten CSAT. Geise was perfect on all seven attempts from the field, including five 3-pointers, and I never even saw him miss one during warmups.
Newfane was on fire from long range in the opening quarter, with all but two of its points coming from long range. Connor Sears hit back-to-back 3's to open the scoring for the Panthers and Geise knocked down three treys in the final 1:27 of the first quarter to help Newfane get out to a 17-9 lead. Reid Weber began the second quarter by drilling another long-range bust for Newfane, giving them six 3-pointers in the first nine minutes and an 11-point lead.
After a bucket from Sears made the score 24-12 midway through the second quarter, Akron tightened up defensively and began looking inside for offense. The result was nine straight points for the Tigers, all coming in the paint or from the line as a result of a foul inside. As the teams headed off for the intermission, Akron had closed the gap and was trailing by just four points, 27-23.
The halftime message in the Newfane locker room was either different this time, or received differently. The Panthers came out as the aggressors in the third quarter, particularly on the defensive end, while continuing to stroke it from beyond the arc. Newfane sank three more treys and limited Akron to a single field goal in the stanza, outscoring them 15-2. Weber had a steal that he converted into a fast break layup with six seconds left in the quarter, making the score 42-25, and confirming that Newfane was not going to fold this time around.
Sears finished with 11 points for the Panthers and did a great job dishing off inside after driving the lane. Weber and Alex Intihar each scored eight points for Newfane.
Gowah Abrams and Connor Ladd each had 10 points in the loss for the Tigers.