Panthers clip Thorpe in OT
Panther Valley's Zach Stanko (5) goes up with a jump shot during overtime. Jim Thorpe's J.T. Otto is the defender.
It didn't start out as one of the best nights for Zach Stanko.
In the four regular periods of basketball, the Panther Valley senior had just seven points last night against Jim Thorpe - including only two field goals - which was nearly half of his season average of 13.6 points per game.
The game went into overtime and this is where Stanko relieved his frustration.
He scored seven of PV's 14 points in the four-minute extra period to help his team defeat the Olympians, 52-47, in a Schuylkill League Division 1contest played on the winner's floor.
"Zack was frustrated with himself," observed PV head coach Patrick Crampsie. "But we wouldn't be where we are without Zack."
"Other players came through for us," he added. "When we get other guys playing like they did, it's great. We count on Nate (Mathewson) and Zack every game and it's good when others do as well as they did tonight."
Three players were in double digits for the Panthers (2-3 league, 6-7 overall). Stanko and Mathewson each contributed 14 points while junior Nick McArdle added 13 - including a trio of three-pointers.
Dean DiBonifazio was high scorer for Jim Thorpe (1-5 league, 4-10 overall) with 17 points. Three of his four field goals were triples.
P. J. Johnsson scored 14 points for the Olympians.
Crampsie commented, "In overtime, we gutted it out. In the fourth quarter, we struggled to make plays. In overtime, the kids kept plugging and we started to make those plays. The kids just kept fighting back."
The coach stressed that his players have their sights set on post-season activity.
"A couple of weeks ago, when were were 2-6, a lot of people wrote us off," he remarked. "When Brock (Mitchell) got hurt, people wrote us off. Our players had a goal at the beginning of the season to make the playoffs. They still have that goal."
Mitchell had injured the ankle in an ATV accident and will miss the rest of the season.
Besides sharing top scoring status with Stanko, Mathewson was also the leader in rebounds, pulling in 10 of the team's 39.
Six-two senior J. T. Otto was the top rebounder for the Olympians, grabbing nine of his team's 30.
The Panthers led all through the first half, twice by six points. The pesky county seaters narrowed the margin to two by the break, 21-19.
Four times in the game the determined Olympians fought back from six-point deficits, but they led only twice, 29-28 early in the final period and then again 40-38 at the beginning of the OT.
It was DiBonifazio who sent the game into the extended period by making an amazing comet-like three-pointer from about two feet beyond and to the right of the key with 30-seconds in regulation.
PV had an opportunity in regulation after that to pull it out, but two inside field goal tries bounced off the rim.
In the overtime, it was DiBonifazio who put his team in the lead, but then the Panthers exploded with eight points in a span of about 72 seconds to take the lead for keeps, 46-40. Five of those eight were by Stanko.
In the opener, the Olympian jayvees topped the Panthers, 44-41.
DiBonifazio 4-6-7-17, Protnicki 0-0-0-0, Moronta 0-2-2-2, Moore 2-1-2-5, Lynch 0-0-0-0, Ciavarella 2-0-0-4, Otto 2-0-0-5, Brown 0-0-0-0, Johnson 6-1-7-14. Totals: 16-10-18-47.
Dunn 0-0-0-0. Stanko 4-5-8-14, McArdle 5-0-0-13, Ogozolek 2-1-4-6, Revell 1-2-4-5, Kerschner 0-0-0-0, Mathewson 5-4-7-14. Totals: 17-12-23-52.
Jim Thorpe 5 14 8 11 9 - 47
Panther Vy. 11 10 7 10 14 - 52
Three-pointers: JT - DiBonifazio 3, Otto 1, Johnson 1. PV - McArdle 3, Stanko 1, Ogozalek 1, and Revell 1.