PERRYSBURG — Parker Schofield’s parents, Ed and Janet, were both U.S. Navy pilots, his sister Sam is a midshipman who plays NCAA Division I basketball for Navy, and brother Logan played NCAA D-I water polo for Bucknell.
So, when Parker, a 6-foot-2 Anthony Wayne senior guard, put his team on his back, scoring 27 points to lead the Generals to a 76-66 Northern Lakes League double overtime victory over Perrysburg Friday, it should surprise no one.
As a result, AW, 10-8 overall and 8-2 in the conference, has forced a first-place tie with Perrysburg (13-5, 8-2) in the NLL.
“We knew going in that this was the biggest game of our season to stay within a chance of winning the league and we came out and performed, and that’s what we needed to do,” said Schofield, who also had six rebounds and five steals.
Schofield scored 11 points in the third quarter and then put up 11 more in the two overtimes, plus he had three key steals over the final 16 minutes of play.
“He played real smart, real tough, and made a lot of key baskets and plays on both offense and defense,” Perrysburg coach Dave Boyce said.
Schofield made 11-of-15 free throws, most with the game on the line, and grabbed three rebounds in the second OT alone.
“The kid is one of the best players, not only in the NLL and Northwest Ohio, but I think he deserves some respect in the state,” AW coach Josh Arthur said.
“He’s a great competitor, he was focused this week, and our entire team was focused.”
AW took a 10-4 lead in the first four minutes of the game, and led 17-11 after one quarter, but Perrysburg opened the second quarter on a 12-2 run and led 32-27 at halftime.
AW never led the entire second half but stayed within striking distance. AW senior forward Aiden Schmenk, who finished with a double-double 21 points, 11 rebounds, and two steals, scored on a reverse layup with 30 seconds remaining in regulation, tying the game at 58-58.
Perrysburg had one final possession to knock down the game winner, but Schofield’s steal in the final seconds gave him a chance to throw up a half court shot at the buzzer, which nearly dropped in.
Perrysburg junior Austin Shultz hit a 15-foot baseline jumper and junior guard Gavin Fenneken scored in the paint, giving the Yellow Jackets an early 64-60 lead in the first OT.
However, Schofield and Schmenk responded by scoring all six AW points and Schmenk had three rebounds as the Generals managed to tie the game 64-all on Schofield’s layup with 50 seconds remaining.
Again, Perrysburg had a final opportunity to hit the game-winner, calling timeout with 12.1 seconds to draw up a play, but the Generals’ defense held.
In the second OT, AW opened on a 7-0 run, outrebounding Perrysburg 6-0 as Schofield scored eight points and had three rebounds.
AW won every statistical category, outrebounding Perrysburg, 31-24, and the Generals had nine turnovers to the Yellow Jackets’ 15.
AW shot 53% (25-for-47) from the floor, made 23-of-29 (79%) shots from the free throw line and had three 3-point goals.
Perrysburg shot 47% (24-for-51) from the field, made 13-of-16 shots (81%) from the charity stripe, and connected on five triples.
Shultz led Perrysburg with 21 points, Fenneken had 12 points and six rebounds, senior Andrew Hunt had 10 points and eight rebounds and senior Matt Watkins had 10 points and five caroms.
Senior forward Avery Hunt scored seven points and junior guard Matt Hubbard scored six points to round out the Jackets’ scoring.
AW junior Hayden Bender scored 10, junior forward Grant Kinner had eight points, four rebounds, and two steals, junior forward Griffin Pike had eight points and four rebounds, and senior Max Walton added two points.
Arthur said Schofield could not have carried the Generals without his teammates, including Schmenk and Bender.
“Aiden was huge in the first half. Hayden Bender came in and hit a couple threes. It was a sight to see,” Arthur said.
Arthur said it was the culmination of a long week of hard work by his players and the coaching staff prepping for Perrysburg.
“We scouted them pretty hard,” Arthur said. “The boys, (assistant) coach (Braden) Womack, coach (Nate) Schaffner, were in charge of our defense today.
“They knew everything they did and made sure the boys knew it and we challenged them to work hard on the offensive end.”
Now the NLL race gets interesting with all four upper division teams down to four league games remaining.
Besides Perrysburg and AW, Springfield (13-5, 8-2) and Sylvania Northview (14-4, 7-3) are in the mix. Perrysburg hosts the Blue Devils Tuesday.
“We’ve got to come back Saturday morning and get ready for Springfield. We’ve got to play better at the end of the game,” Boyce said.
Arthur put it in perspective — the Generals were pleased to get a win over their cross-river rivals, but it’s not over yet.
“That makes them feel good, but they also know the job is not done,” Arthur said. “Our NLL is very competitive. Napoleon (8-9, 3-7) is very good, and we have them next.
“Every team that we play is going to be tough and they are going to be gunning for everybody. It’s still a four-team race, it just makes it a little bit easier now.”