The Panther Valley girls basketball team showed last night that they're headed in the right direction.
Although, the end result didn't equate in a victory, the Lady Panthers battled with one of the best teams in District 11, giving North Schuylkill all they could handle.
PV kept it close throughout, but in the end couldn't make winning plays in the crucial moments of the game as they dropped a 46-38 Schuylkill League Division 1 contest to the Lady Spartans.
Taking care of the basketball is always a vital component in whether a team wins or loses. The young Panthers squad found that out the hard way as they matched North Schuylkill in almost every facet of the game except for turnovers. The Lady Panthers turned it over 28 times in the ball game, which does not bode well for any team that is trying to secure a "W."
"We're a young team and they're just feeling their way through playing these type of games," said Panthers head coach Josh Wank. "We would break their full-court pressure and then throw the ball away on our end and it's just things you'll go through as a young team. I'm real proud of our girls though, they gutted it out and hung with one of the best teams in District 11."
Panther Valley stayed close throughout every quarter, being down just four after one, six after two, and seven after three.
The fourth is when PV turned up the pressure on the Spartans and got within one after a Trayvonda Rice deuce inside. The Panther closed in on the Spartans because of two full-court passes to Sam Zlock on back-to-back PV possessions. Zlock slipped behind the Spartans defense on the Panthers' press break and finished on both attempts.
North Schuylkill then answered on their next possession with a Tiffany Lapostky basket, going back up three. That's when the Lady Spartans would turn up their defensive intensity, holding the Panthers to just two points the rest of the game, outscoring them 8-2.
"This is a tough place to play and you have to give Panther Valley credit because they wanted it more than us," said Spartans' head coach John Rizzo. "We just shot the ball poorly tonight and the buckets we needed just didn't go down. Fortunately, we were able to get some key stops in key moments, but we'll definitely take it, a win is a win."
The Lady Panthers basketball program has been struggling over the last few seasons, but a performance like last night minus the turnovers could equal a good amount of wins for this team in 2012-13.
"That was a good team we faced tonight, but we're a good team too. We're also finally playing with the elite ball clubs in the league," said Wank. "Don't get me wrong it's good to be playing them tough, but the next step is beating them and that's what we have to do."
Madison Blasko led PV with 14 points, while Rice chipped in with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
Lauren Damiter scored 14 and Lapotsky added 10 for the Spartans.
Marone 0-0-2-0, Lapotsky 5-0-0-10, Grasso 2-0-0-5, Paul 1-0-0-2, 2-0-0-4, Bolinsky 1-0-0-2, Spotts 3-2-6-9, Gregas 0-0-0-0, Damiter 6-1-2-14. TOTALS: 20-3-10-46
Whildin 0-6-11-6, Blasko 4-4-4-14, Corby 0-0-0-0, Jacobs 0-0-0-0, Rice 6-0-0-12, Mikovich 0-2-4-2, Zlock 2-0-0-4. TOTALS: 12-12-19-38.
No. Schuylkill 16 11 10 9 - 46
Panther Vy. 12 9 9 8 - 38
Three pointers: NS - Grasso 1, Spotts 1, Damiter 1; PV - Blasko 2.