Panther Valley head coach Pat Crampsie has seen one important constant in his team during the first week of the season defense.
So, despite some offensive struggles in their first three games, the Panthers have been able to record a pair of victories.
Wednesday night, the Panthers defeated Freeland MMI, 46-29, thanks in large part to their defensive effort.
"Absolutely, our defense has been solid," Crampsie said. "We thought our 1-3-1 would be effective tonight. It put pressure on MMI, denied passing lanes and cut off penetration opportunities."
There was a noticeable size advantage favoring the Panthers and that showed in their rebounding edge (31-23 for the game), and led to some easy scoring chances throughout the contest.
In the first quarter, the Panthers built a double-digit lead. Nick McArdle hit for five points and teammate Nate Mathewson added four as Panther Valley grabbed a 14-4 lead.
A 10-6 second session extended the lead to 24-10 at intermission. PV's Stephen Romanchik had two steals and four points in the quarter with Joe Dalessio adding four as well.
"Our 1-3-1 defense is pretty well-known throughout the league," Romanchik said. "We tend to push that in practices and we stress that we need to play defense to the best of our ability. Tonight it helped us get another win."
Both squads tallied 12 points in the third stanza to keep the PV lead at fourteen with eight minutes left to play. However, the benches started to clear shortly into the final frame and the outcome was inevitable.
"I'm glad that we went out and took care of business tonight," Crampsie said. "We needed to get this one and it's nice to be above .500."
Romanchik furthered, "It's nice to get a good start to the season and I think with the win, it builds our confidence and energy so hopefully we can continue winning."
Next up on the schedule for the 2-1 Panthers is a Saturday night matchup with Hanover. "They stuck it to us last year up at their place, so hopefully, we can take this momentum and get win number three," Crampsie said.
Both teams provided plenty of hustle, but lacked discipline at times, as PV actually had more turnovers than their counterparts (25-23).
Other than Romanchik's 12 points, Dalessio added nine.
Meanwhile, the Preppers were led by the eight-point effort from Alex VanHoekelen.
MMI posted a a 42-33 JV win. Ethan Vermillion's nine points led the Panthers.
G. Gera 1-1-2-3, Kollar 1-0-0-2, Rogers 2-0-0-5, Wenner 0-0-0-0, Marchetti 0-0-0-0, Connors 1-0-0-2, Kuchner 0-1-2-1, J. Gera 1-0-0-3, Kupsho 0-1-2-1, McCoy 1-0-2-2, VanHoekelen 4-0-2-8. TOTALS: 12-3-10-29.
King 0-0-0-0, Szczecina 2-0-0-5, McArdle 3-0-0-7, Stano 0-0-0-0, Owens 0-0-0-0, Ogozalek 1-0-0-3, Romanchik 6-0-0-12, Dalessio 3-3-4-9, Kusko 0-0-0-0, Ferryman 2-0-0-4, N. Mathewson 3-0-0-6, Vermillion 0-0-0-0, J. Mathewson 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-3-4-46.
Freeland MMI 4 6 12 7 - 29
Panther Valley 14 10 12 10 - 46
Three pointers: MMI - J. Gera, Rogers; PV - Ogozalek, McArdle, Szczecina.