The Stryker girls basketball team held a 6-5 lead after one quarter against Antwerp in a Division IV sectional final in Bryan on Saturday, but not much worked after that for the Panthers, as Antwerp ran away with a 45-24 victory to advance to this week’s district tournament in Defiance.

Stryker coach Steve Brown said he anticipated Antwerp putting Stryker senior Courtney Stewart in a box-and-one defense coming into the night, and that’s exactly what the Archers did.

Antwerp (14-10) won the second quarter 14-5 to take a 19-11 lead into the break, and Stryker (13-10) never found an answer against Antwerp’s box-and-one in the second half.

“We worked on it in practice,” Brown said. “But it’s just hard to simulate.”

The loss snaps what was a seven-game winning streak for the Panthers, who after a 6-9 start, rallied during the final stretch of the season to earn a share of the program’s fourth consecutive Buckeye Border Conference title, an accomplishment Brown said he holds in high regard, and is a huge credit to the leadership his five seniors showed throughout the year.

“There’s nothing we can do about the game,” Brown said. “But we lost Courtney Stewart, Emilyanne Cox, Abby Grice, Kenzie Cadwell and Kalista Blevins, and that was a tough locker room to walk out of, because of those five kids, and that’s the biggest thing I think we need to talk about and focus on.

“Those five seniors, along with the rest of their teammates, helped keep things positive when they didn’t look very good during the year. We got on a roll in the second half of the season, and that’s a big part of what those five kids did with their leadership and determination.”

Antwerp was led in scoring by 12 points from Karsyn Brumett and nine points from Heather Oberlin. Stryker was led by eight points from Courtney Stewart.

Antwerp will take on Wayne Trace (19-4) in a Division IV district semifinal at 8 p.m. Thursday at Defiance High School.

Antwerp 45, Stryker 24

Antwerp 5 14 12 14 — 45

Stryker 6 5 4 9 — 24

Antwerp: Brumett 1 2 4-6 12, Oberlin 4 0 1-2 9, Gomez 0 2 2-4 8, Coppes 2 1 1-4 8, DeVore 0 0 3-6 3, Miller 1 0 0-0 2, Schuette 1 0 0-0 2, Brewer 0 0 1-2 1. Totals: 9 5 12-24 45.

Stryker: Stewart 1 0 6-6 8, Cadwell 0 2 0-0 6, Fulk 0 1 0-0 3, Cox 0 1 0-0 3, Blevins 0 0 2-2 2, Woolace 0 0 2-2 2. Totals: 1 4 10-10 24.

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