By BRUCE HEFFLINGER

Sports Writer

PAULDING – The law of averages is on the side of Paulding.

But unfortunately for the Panthers, that does not win games. Paulding found that out on Thursday night with another tight loss, the Panthers coming up on the short end against Allen East, 51-48.

“What a tough loss,” admitted Paulding coach Samantha Schmenk. “It was not a fun way to lose.”

Trailing 33-32 entering the final eight minutes of action, the Panthers had a chance to knock Allen East out of the Northwest Conference race. But instead, the Mustangs came through at the foul line to improve to 9-2 overall and 3-1 in league play, third behind league unbeatens Bluffton (4-0) and Spencerville (3-0)..

“Turnovers down the stretch, being impatient and free throws were the difference in the game,” pointed out Schmenk, whose squad missed three of seven at the charity stripe in the fourth quarter while Allen East was good on eight of 10.

Kate Newland scored seven points in both the third and fourth quarters for the Mustangs, knocking down 5-6 at the foul line in the final stanza. Tori Newland added six points in the fourth, hitting both of her free throws.

“We fouled in some unfortunate situations and they hit their free throws,” Schmenk noted. “And then we finished the game with three turnovers.”

Chesi Geisige scored seven of her nine points in the final quarter while Janae Pease tallied all five of her points in the period to keep the Panthers in the game.

Paulding led 21-18 at half, thanks in part to eight second-quarter points from Audrey Geisige. However, despite Bri Townley scoring seven points and Leigha Egnor four, the Panthers were outpointed 15-11 in the third quarter. Lauren Criblez had seven in the stanza to aid the Mustangs.

Kate Newland finished with a game-high 21 points to lead Allen East while Tori Newland scored 15 and Criblez 10.

Townley had 16 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in a losing cause for Paulding, which fell to 3-9 on the season and 0-3 in the NWC. Chelsi Geisige added nine points, three assists and three steals for the Panthers, which ended 7-13 shooting at the foul line for 54 percent and 19-45 from the field for 42 percent.

Allen East was a red-hot 18-35 on field-goal attempts for 51 percent and 13-18 on free throws for 72 percent. The Mustangs nipped Paulding 19-18 on the glass.

Score by Quarters

Allen East     11    7  15  18  -  51

Paulding        9   12  11  16  -  48

Allen East 51: T. Newland 6-0-3-15; Richardson 2-0-0-4; K. Newland 5-2-5-21; Criblez 3-0-4-10; Lawrence 0-0-1-1. Totals 16-2-13-51.

Paulding 48: McCullough 2-0-0-4; Pease 2-0-1-5; C. Geisige 4-0-1-9; Egnor 2-0-0-4; A. Geisige 1-2-0-8; Townley 4-1-5-16; Estle 1-0-0-2. Totals 16-3-7-48