Pottsville's offense used medival catapult strategy against Panther Valley, Saturday, bombarding the Panthers from way outside.
These shots produced a big lead for the Tide, and let them defeat the Panthers 61-49 in a District 11 quarterly playoff game Saturday in Minersville.
Seven of nine baskets by Pottsville were from the three-point range in the first half, enabling the top Class AAA seed take a 28-13 halftime lead. By late third quarter, the Tide had moved into a seemingly comfortable 22 point lead.
The Panthers didn't quit, though. They outscored Pottsville 14-2 in a late third quarter and early fourth quarter rally, firing some long three-point missiles themselves. But the Red-and-White was able to hold off that surge and emerge victorious.
The loss eliminates PV from post-season play. Pottsville, on the other hand, advances to face Jim Thorpe in a rubber-match. The teams split in regular season play.
This was the third matchup between Panther Valley and Pottsville, with the Tide taking all three contests. Saturday's was by the biggest margin, though. The first time the two teams met, PV lost by just four points, 53-49.
Pottsville coach Dave Mullaney says he didn't take PV lightly coming into the contest.
He said he feels the early outside success took the Panthers out of the game early, with the outside shooting game instituted because, "We were really worried about the zone. They (PV) play it very well."
To counter PVs zone defense, Mullaney used what was a type of four out, one in offense early. This offense is generally used by a team with a big lead at the end of a game to slow down tempo and keep possession of the ball.
It was the success of outside shooting that made it work.
Coach Pat Crampsie of the Panther's said, "In hindsight, I wish we would have gotten out of zone a little earlier. The zone has been good to us all year. We didn't want to panic and get out of it too early."
Crampsie had a lot of praise for his team, stating, "When it was 40-19, it would have been easy for them to pack it in." Instead, he told how the team kept on fighting and quickly whittled the deficit to eight.
"Our kids hustle. They push. They're intent. They're fighters. This is a fine group," the coach said of his Pnather squad.
In the first half, Brock Mitchell, Panther Valley's top scorer, was shut down completely.
Logan Stano, a 6-6 senior, scored 11 of the Panther's 13 first half points. He ended the game as the top scorer for PV with 19 points, all from the floor.
Also in doubles were junior Zach Stanko with 11 points and Mitchell, who is only a sophomore, with 10 points.
Nick Schlitzer led the Tide in scoring with 26 points.
Stanko 3-2-7-11, Ogozolek 0-0-0-0,Revell 2-0-0-6, Picht 0-1-2-1, Lewis 1-0-0-2, Romanchick 0-0-0-0, Mitchell 3-3-5-10, Ahner 0-0-0-0, Stano 9- 0-0-19, Totals: 18-6-14-49.
Schappell 1-0-0-3, Heffner 1-0-0-2, Guers 0-0-0-0, Brandon 0-2-2-2, Whalen 6-2-2-17, Leymeister 2-3-6-7, Tobin 0-0-0-0, Schlitzer 8-8-10-26, Spece 1-1-2-4. Totals 19-16-22-61.
Panther Vy. 5 8 10 26 - 49
Pottsville 11 17 12 21 - 61
Three pointers: Panther Valley - Stanko 3, Revell 2, Stano 1, Mitchell 1; Pottsville - Whalen 3, Schlitzer 2, Schappell 1, Spece 1.