Panther Valley boys' basketball coach Pat Crampsie knew that his team would have its hands full when defending Schuylkill League champion North Schuylkill visited.
What he was unaware of was that his team would commit over 20 turnovers in the game.
All that considered, the assumption would be that things weren't going to turn out well for the Panthers. But that assumption would be wrong as Panther Valley pulled out a 51-46 win over the Spartans.
"There were so many points in the game that it seemed as though things weren't going to go our way," Crampsie said. "But our kids fought their way through those turnovers and every little run (North Schuylkill) made and it's just a testament to the kids for pulling this one out."
Holding onto a 33-21 lead midway through the third quarter, the Spartans started to make one of those runs, that eventually chipped away more and more to a 33-31 lead on a Steve Ennis three-pointer with 2:32 remaining in the third.
After the teams traded buckets, NS took the lead 41-37 at the end of the third frame. However, PV made their free throws and managed to pull it out late for the win.
"It's an enormous win for us," Crampsie said. "We were 1-2 so now we're even on the season, it was our first league game, so we start out well there and they're defending league champs and league favorites this year, too. I don't think we've beaten them in about nine years or so, so it was enormous."
Early on, the teams battled evenly and tied things up 10 apiece at the end of one period. The Spartans' Zach Hogan had six in the frame, while Kyle Picht and Brock Mitchell both scored four.
In the second, the victors started to pull away via the strength of their inside game, as Logan Stano scored nine in the frame to help his team to a 29-21 lead at the break.
"I've been thrilled with our team's improvement in the past week and a half and our inside guys are getting better and better," Crampsie said.
The third period is where NS picked up their defensive intensity, forcing turnovers and converting on lay-ups. Zach Parnell had all eight of his points in that third.
The lead changed hands three times in the fourth, before Stano's put-back tied things up at 46-apiece. Damian Lewis' free throw gave the locals the lead for good, as Stano and Picht hit two conversions apiece to seal the win.
"They're willing to learn and they're improving so much and it's good to see that all the hard work is paying off," Crampsie said.
In the JV contest, the Spartans prevented the sweep with a 56-34 preliminary win. Brandon McCloskey's 22 points led the way for the junior Spartans.
Jones 0-1-2-1, Hogan 4-2-2-10, Ennis 7-2-4-18, Anthony 1-0-1-3, Chernewski 0-0-0-0, Parnell 4-0-2-8, Skinner 0-0-0-0, Hughes 2-0-0-4, Flail 1-0-0-2, Dombosky 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-5-11-46.
Stanko 1-0-0-2, Ogozalek 1-0-1-2, Picht 4-2-3-10, Lewis 2-1-2-6, Mitchell 6-2-4-14, Stano 6-5-6-17. TOTALS: 20-10-16-51.
North Schuylkill 10 11 20 5 - 46
Panther Valley 10 19 8 14 - 51
Three pointers: NS – Ennis 2, Anthony; PV – Lewis.