Lehighton jumped on Panther Valley early and continued to pour it on en route to a 79-47 non-league win Saturday night.

The Indians (6-7) stormed out of the gates and took a 24-7 lead after the first quarter.

Although the Panthers cut into that advantage during the second quarter, Lehighton coach Rich Oertner stuck to his game plan and and never panicked.

"They have a good shooting team and we knew they were going to make some shots," Oertner said. "They shoot threes but I prefer not to live and die by them. I prefer to press a little bit and get the ball inside.

"We knew we'd have a quarter or two where they'd make three or four of them, and they did. It's gonna happen."

Leading 38-24 at halftime, Lehighton put the game out of reach by outscoring Panther Valley, 18-6, in the third quarter.

Oertner wanted to use the Indians' size to their advantage and expose mismatches they had against Panther Valley (2-10) .

"When we went into the locker room, our plan was to pound it inside as much as we could," said Oertner. "We had a huge size advantage and, realistically, coming from the Mountain Valley (Conference) to here, it's a little bit different.

"Size-wise, Panther Valley isn't even near the size of the Mountain Valley teams. Here we had a chance to get offensive rebounds and capitalize on second-chance points, and we got quite a few of those tonight, which made a difference."

Lehighton's leading scorer coming into the game, Tyler Crum, had a game-high 17 points. Anthony Rossino added another 16 points for the Indians while Jordan Knappenberger chipped in 15 points, hitting three three-pointers in the contest.

Oertner's task now is to keep his team focused with a few days off and a possible District 11 playoff berth on the horizon.

"We have to try to remain focused," Oertner said. "We have five days off before we play again, so we have to zero-in on the next couple of teams and what they do and practice against what they do even though we won't see them for a while."

Panther Valley coach Pat Crampsie praised Oertner for the progress the Lehighton program has made in such a short period of time.

"First of all, let me give credit to coach Oertner and those Lehighton kids," Crampsie said. "The progress they've made over the last two years is fantastic and he does a great job."

As for his team, Crampsie was critical of the Panthers' defensive breakdowns throughout the game that allowed Lehighton to extend its lead, especially in the second half.

"Every time we got close, we had a defensive breakdown," Crampsie said. "In the second half, we were just very poor defensively and we have to work on that in practice. We just had way too many breakdowns. '

"Lehighton got a lot of good looks, and to their credit, they knocked them down."

Crampsie said that he's happy with the improvement he's seen from some of his players and feels he can build on that moving forward.

"I've been happy with some of the younger kids that have stepped in," Crampsie said. "They've given us good minutes and they've played tough. That's something we hope continues over the next few weeks."

PANTHER VALLEY

Szczecina 2-0-0-6, Kusko 1-0-0-3, Stano 0-0-0-0, Romanchik 3-0-0-6, Kerschner 2-0-0-4, Ferryman 3-0-0-7, Taras 2-1-3-5, Vermillion 3-0-0-8, Dubosky 1-0-0-2, Owens 0-0-0-0, Nase 1-0-0-3, Hudicka1-0-0-3. TOTALS: 19-1-3-47.

LEHIGHTON

Rossino 6-3-4-16, Farano 3-0-0-6, Crum 8-0-1-17, Williams 2-0-0-5, Zwetolitz 2-0-0-6, McCandless 1-0-0-2, Kris Knappenberger 1-0-0-2, Evans 1-0-1-2, Thompson 1-0-2-2, Jordan Knappenberger 5-2-2-15, Mele 2-0-0-4, Nalesnik 1-0-2-2. TOTALS: 33-5-12-79.

Panther Vy. 7 17 6 17 - 47

Lehighton 24 14 18 23 - 79

Three-pointers: PV - Szczecina 2, Kusko 1, Ferryman 1, Vermillion 2; L - Rossino 1, Crum 1, Williams 1, Zwetolitz 2, Jordan Knappenberger 3.