Panther Valley routs Lehighton
Blake White of Panther Valley drives between Lehighton’s Carter Strauss, left, and Zach Hunsicker (4). For a video, visit www.tnonline.com. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
After dropping its last four Schuylkill League Division 1 games, Panther Valley was almost in a must-win situation if it wanted to qualify for the postseason.
With their backs against the wall, the Panthers faced off with fellow Division 1 opponent Lehighton on Thursday and turned a must-win into a rout, rolling to a 64-28 victory.
“I couldn’t be happier with the way our kids responded tonight,” said Panther Valley head coach Pat Crampsie. “We needed to get tougher, more physical, we needed to play with more energy.
“Those are the things we were really questioning over the last two weeks. Tonight, our kids really came together and responded.”
Holding a one-point advantage early in the second quarter, the Panthers went on an 11-0 run to lead 23-11 with 2:34 remaining in the half.
Four triples in the frame, including back-to-back makes from beyond the arc by senior guard Erick Marchorro sparked the PV offense. The Panthers’ defense forced eight first-half Tribe turnovers to build a 28-15 halftime lead.
“We were really focused defensively tonight, you could see that. We made them work, contested every shot and rebounded well to make it one-and-done. All things we’ve been struggling with recently,” said Crampsie. “But tonight we executed, and played unselfish, moving the basketball with the pass, and we got good looks and knocked them down.”
The third was yet another example of the Panthers’ extreme focus on the defensive end, holding the Indians to just five points in the quarter, and extending their lead to 43-20. This time, it was a Panthers’ 12-0 run that spurred the surge, with four different players scoring buckets during that span.
The Panthers continued to fire on all cylinders in the fourth quarter, led by senior shooting guard Brandon Stilitino. Stilitino was unconscious from deep in the corner, hitting back-to-back triples to start the fourth and then drilling three in a row midway through the frame.
“This was a big one for us, especially after dropping four in a row in our division. It was a special one for our seniors, too, to get a big win on senior night against a rival,” said Stilitino. “The fourth quarter was really fun; we caught fire, I think I hit five. My teammates were looking for me after I hit a couple, they set me up.
“But the most important thing was the win. We really needed that one.”
RECORDS ... Panther Valley improves to 9-6 overall and 3-5 in league play. Lehighton drops to 6-9 overall and 3-5 in the league.
TRIPLE DOUBLE ... The triple double is rare, especially in high school basketball, but PV do-it-all senior Blake White accomplished just that against the Tribe. White had 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
LEADERS ... Stilitino finished with a game-high 27 for PV, with White adding 12 and Marchorro 11. For the Indians, Richie Yturrino scored 11.
Strauss 2-0-0-4, Hunsicker 0-0-0-0, Lorenz 1-0-0-3, Wolverton 1-0-0-3, Smith 1-0-0-2, B. Lutz 1-0-0-2, Costenbader 0-0-0-0, Yturrino 3-4-5-11, E. Lutz 0-0-0-0, Schatz 1-0-0-3, Haydt 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 10-5-11-28
Marchorro 4-0-0-11, Gutierrez 3-0-0-8, Stilitino 10-0-0-27, Kindt 0-0-0-0, Eidle 1-0-0-2, Roig 1-0-0-2, Hoben 0-0-0-0, White 6-0-0-12, Juracka 0-0-0-0, Turner 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 26-0-2-64.
Lehighton 8 7 5 8 - 28
Panther Vy. 12 16 15 21 - 64
Three-pointers: L - Lorenz 1, Wolverton 1, Schatz 1; PV - Stilitino 7, Marchorro 3, Gutierrez 2.