During the Mahanoy Area 2011 football campaign Mike Gaval and Neal Goodman provided most of the offense for the Golden Bears. Gaval being the quarterback and go-to-guy and Goodman being the spark plug for the Bears.
Friday night at Panther Valley however, the roles were reversed and Goodman led Mahanoy Area to a 47-36 win in the opening round of the Panther Valley Tip-Off Tournament.
It was the Golden Bears' hot shooting in the second quarter that ultimately propelled them to victory. Mahanoy used their shooting ability to stretch Panther Valley's patented 1-3-1 zone defense hitting four three's in the frame. Gaval, Goodman and Jim Baker all contributed from deep in the period.
"Baseline penetration really hurt us tonight," said Panther Valley coach Pat Crampsie. "I think our guys did a pretty good job up top, but when you allow baseline penetration in a 1-3-1 zone it allows the shooters up top to get open looks. You have to credit Mahanoy because they made their shots, especially in the second quarter."
The first half for the Panther Valley offense didn't bode well for its chance of winning either. The Golden Bears came out and continued to honor their tradition of tough man-to-man defense, frustrating the Panthers at every turn. Mahanoy held Panther Valley to just 13 points in the first half.
"I think our defense did a really good job in the first half," said Mahanoy coach Mickey Holland. "We also did a good job of penetrating their zone on offense as well, and shot the ball well for it only being the first game of the season."
The Panthers were able to make a run at the Bears in the second half mostly by using a three-point barrage of their own. Sophomore Jake Szczecina got the Panthers' offense going in the fourth quarter hitting back-to-back treys with Thad Ogozalek and Zack King each adding a three of their own in the quarter. The Panthers who seemed flustered by the Mahanoy pressure in the opening half, calmed down in the third and fourth quarters and started to produce on the offensive end.
"We knew coming into tonight's game that it was going to take some time for us to gel offensively," added Crampsie. "We settled down and made some shots, which hopefully we can build on for our game against Marian tomorrow night. It's a long season, and obviously we're disappointed we didn't get the win, but we're not going to let this loss derail our goals for the rest of the year."
Mahanoy's Neal Goodman finished with 14 points on the night, shooting 4 for 7 from beyond the arc. Nate Mathewson led the Panthers with eight points.
Mahanoy will face Jim Thorpe tonight in the championship game at 7:30. The Panthers take on Marian in the 6 p.m. consolation game.
Gaval 1-1-2-4, Goodman 5-0-0-14, Cavenas 4-0-3-8, Baker 3-0-1-7, Kuzma 4-0-0-8, McGee 0-0-0-0, Brill 2-0-0-6, VanHorn 0-0-0-0, Merchinsky 0-0-0-0, McNeils 0-0-0-0, Haryman 0-0-1-0. TOTALS: 19-1-7-47.
King 1-0-0-3, Szczecina 2-0-0-6, McArdle 2-0-0-4, Stano 0-0-0-0, Ogazalek 2-0-2-6, Delessio 1-0-0-2, Ferryman 0-0-0-0, Mathewson 4-0-0-8 Romanchic 3-0-5-7. TOTALS:15-0-8-36.
Mahanoy Area 15 16 13 3 - 47
Panther Valley 6 7 9 11 - 36
Three-pointers: MA - Goodman 4, Brill 2, Gaval 1, Baker 1; PV - Ogazalek 2, Szczecina 2, King 1, Romanchik 1.