A few years ago, Stew-Stras went to Pana and the two teams put up one of the highest scoring games in IHSA history. Stew-Stras has struggled this year, but on Tuesday they went to Pana and put up huge numbers again, despite the loss, 87-71.
Brandon Helmuth, one of the area’s leading scorers, put on a career-high 33 points performance. He had a team-high nine boards and a team-high five steals. He added an assist and a block. He scored 12 of his 33 points in the 1st and nine in the 4th with six points both in the 2nd and 3rd.
Jason Fry followed with 17 points, including 5-of-6 at the line. He had 8 of his 17 in the 4th. Mark Jones was the third Comet in double figures. Jones had 10 points.
Pana had two players in double figures, Jonathon McLeod with 21 and Kyle Gibson with 19. They had 10 other players score in single digits.
The 1st period was a jail break with 48 points scored in 8:00, an average of three buckets a minute. Pana emerged with a 28-20 lead. Helmuth had an opening trey, then a 3-point play and three more baskets. Jones had two free throws and a bucket. Aaron Blythe and Fry had solo twos.
Pana’s McLeod got four of his five 3-pointers in the 1st. Gibson had both of his triples in the 1st Brock Beeson had a trey and a deuce. Blake Kircher splashed a three. Pana made eight of their dozen 3-pointers in the 1st.
Pana stretched their lead in the 2nd. Seven Panthers had field goals. McLeod had two buckets and Brock Trexler two, plus two free throws. Gibson had a 3-point play and two more free throws. Helmuth had three buckets for Stew-Stras, Fry had a deuce and 2-of-4 at the line. Aaron Blythe and Josh Overbeck also scored. Pana was 16 points at the half with their 23-15 run.
The Comets stayed closer in the 3rd, but still saw the deficit grow to 19 points. Helmuth scored three more times and Jones had six of his 10 points. Fry and Blythe scored again and Paul Blythe made 1-of-2 foul shots.
Pana had seven players score again. Gibson scored twice and Jordan Clark twice. Rhett Zahradka and Kyle Miller hit a trey, each for a 71-52 lead.
Down the stretch, Stew-Stras finally out-scored Pana, 19-16. The Comets had six field goals and shot 7-of-8 from the line. Helmuth was 5-of-5 including converting a 3-point play. Fry was 2-for-2 and had three buckets.
Stew-Stras 87, Pana 71
Stew stats: Helmuth 33 (12-2s, 1-3 pt FGs, 6/9 FTs), Fry 17 (6 FGs, 5/6 FTs), Jones 10 (4 FGs, 2/2 FTs), A. Blythe 6 (3 FGs), Rincker 2 (FG), Overbeck 2 (FG), P. Blythe 1 (1/3 FTs). Team FGs 28 (1-3). Team FTs 14-of-20. Rebounds 24. Assists 8. Steals 7. Turnovers 17.
Pana stats: McLeod 21 (3-2s, 5-3 pt FGs), Gibson 19 (4-2s, 2-3 pt FGs, 5/5 FTs), Kircher 7 (2-2s, 1-3 pt FGs), Beeson 7 (2-2s, 1-3 pt FGs), Zahradka 7 (2-2s, 1-3 pt FGs), Trexler 6 (2 FGs, 2/2 FTs), Clark 6 (3 FGs), Patton 4 (2 FGs), Miller 3 ((FG), Gatons 3 (FG), Franklin 2 (FG), Lin 2 (FG). Team FGs 34. 3-Pointers: 12 (McLeod 5, Gibson 2, Zahradka, Beeson, Kircher, Gatons, Miller). Team FTs 7-of-7. Rebounds 23. Assists 6. Steals 9. Turnovers 4.