It's first meeting with Marian in the consolation game of its own Tip-Off Tournament served as a lesson learned for Panther Valley.
Unfortunately for the Colts however, the Panthers had enough time to do their homework in turning an initial loss on its home floor into a 40-29 victory this time around.
"In our first game against them, they got out in a lot of transitions," Panthers' coach Pat Crampsie said. "We were really concerned on getting back on defense and stopping their transition and force them to play a half-court game."
With a little over two weeks of preparation, the "original goal" soon produced the perfect solution for the Panthers in slowing down a Colts' offensive, which scored a 53-42 win over the hosts back on Dec. 12.
"Over the break, we really worked on it and tightened things up a bit," said Logan Stano, about the Panthers' 1-3-1 zone they incorporated into their game plan. "Tonight, we forced them to shoot some bad shot and that really helped us in keeping them to a low score."
It seemed to work a bit in the early going as the Panthers escaped with a 10-8 lead after one period. While the Colts were 3-for-13 from the floor, Stano accounted for two of the Panthers' four in a 4-for-15 performance.
Both teams struggled from the perimeter as the Colts shot 27 percent, while the Panthers hit only 19 percent of their second period shots.
After intermission though, Crampsie found his Panthers building themselves as much as a 10-point lead.
While the Panthers turned it up a notch on the defensive end, holding the Colts to one field goal and a free throw, the Panthers shot 50 percent.
"They came in at halftime and they really thought they could play better," Crampsie said. "They weren't too happy being up by only two points.
"They really came out on fire and they were determined to set the tone in the third quarter there. And, they definitely did."
Stano posted five of his game-high 15 points, while Brock Mitchell hit four for of his 10 in the period.
Tom Gottstein's second of three treys was all the Colts could muster. Thus, the Panthers (4-2 overall) entered the fourth with a more comfortable 28-19 lead.
The Colts (5-2 overall) finally put together its best shooting performance in the fourth, in which Barletta canned eight of his team-high 11 points.
Still, it was obvious to Marian coach Mick Stefanek what the difference in last night's outcome.
"Obviously, we had trouble with their 1-3-1 set-up," Stefanek said. "We didn't attack it well. We didn't hit our shots and we played without any kind of rhythm and we were a bit tentative. We need to move on. As tough as that is, we need to regroup.
"We need to realize that we are not doing a good job on the offensive end, especially against the zone, and we need to work on that."
On the night, the Colts finished 11-for-51 from the floor (22 percent), while the Panthers managed to get the win with a 31-percent effort (16-for-52).
Barletta 4-1-3-11, O'Donnell 0-0-0-0, Decker 0-0-0-0, Gimbi 1-0-0-2, Gottstein 3-0-0-9, Lack 0-0-0-0, Sherkness 2-2-3-6, Fital 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 11-3-6-30.
Stanko 1-0-0-2, Ogozalek 0-0-0-0, Mathewson 0-0-0-0, Revell 0-0-0-0, Picht 1-3-5-5, Lewis 4-1-2-10, Mitchell 5-0-2-10, Stano 5-5-8-15. TOTALS: 16-9-17-42.
Marian 8 7 4 11 – 30
Panther Vy. 10 7 11 14 – 42
Three-pointers: Marian – Gottstein 3, Barletta 2; Panther Valley – Lewis 1.