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Marian tops Panther Valley in opener

Opening nights can sometimes be a little testy.

No matter which way you twist it, turn it or spin it, the team that makes the least mistakes usually wins.

Marian’s senior dominated team was trying its best not to get caught up in too much drama - especially since it was pitted against rival Panther Valley.

The Colts didn’t - and that may be the key reason they staved off the Panthers time-and-again before emerging with a 58-48 non-league win on opening night for both teams.

The Colts kept finding ways to get key baskets late and defend strongly in the half court - which was very pleasing to second-year coach Scott Murphy.

“This group has great chemistry and gets along really well,” Murphy said.

An extended Colts’ football season ended up giving Murphy a little less time with his entire team than he had hoped, but the veteran Colts were able to overcome that

“They’re picking it up and coming together quickly,” said Murphy. “We don’t have our full package of plays in yet, but we really are starting to come together.”

Panther Valley looked loose and quick in sprinting to a 10-8 first quarter lead. It turned to trigger man Drew Kokinda for five early points, while also relying on Chase Weaver and Hayden Goida to gain the narrow lead.

But before the Panthers could get comfortable, Marian found its rhythm and zipped out to a 21-15 lead. There was its go-to guy Julius Currie cooking the books, firing in seven of his team high 17 points in the quarteras Marian got a huge wave of momentum.

Marian had sprinted to a 26-19 lead at halftime getting a big boost from unsung contributor AJ Thomas, who found the range form beyond the arc, burying a triple to lift the Colts to the seven-point halftime edge.

“I was very pleased with our defense,” Murphy said, giving credit to assistant coach Paul Brutto, who is a stickler for defending.

Marian started to pick the pace up and space in the third quarter romping to a 39-32 lead after three quarters. Marian’s big muscle twins Jesse and James Rodino controlled the boards in the quarter while Thomas added five more points,

However, the Panthers started to put their best foot forward. Led by senior Bryce Thomas - who caught fire in the second half scoring 10 of his team-leading 13 points. Thomas helped spur a rally in which Panther Valley cut the deficit to 47-44 with 2:13 to play.

The biggest shot coming from Kokinda - a triple from the corner to give the Panthers a fighting chance.

“I was having nightmares thinking back to last year,” Murphy said about Kokinda’s trey. The senior rallied the Panthers to a win last year.

“I felt good at that point,” said veteran Panther Valley coach Pat Crampsie said about Kokinda’s shot.

But PV would get no closer as Marian slowly pulled away going on an 11-4 run.

“They kept coming after us and making shots and getting to the glass,” said Crampsie. “We just weren’t playing aggressive enough on defense.

“We made a late run, but we couldn’t get over the hump.”

For Marian, it was a nice kickoff to the season.

“We’re really pleased with the effort and commitment on both sides of the ball,” Murphy said.

MISSING A KEY … Panther Valley will improve as the season moves forward, especially when 6-4 Stephen Hood returns. He is currently recovering from shoulder surgery.

PERFECT AT THE LINE … Marian’s Currie made all eight of his foul shots. PV’s Weaver was 3-for-3, too. Both teams shot well from the charity stripe - the Colts going16-for-19 and the Panthers 12-for-17.


Miller 3-0-0-8, Rosario 0-0-0-0, Ju. De La Cruz 0-0-0-0, Ja. De La Cruz 0-0-0-0, Jes. Rodino 3-3-5-9, Tom 0-0-0-0, Thomas 4-0-0-11, Currie 4-8-8-17, Jam. Rodino 3-1-2-7, Hopeck 1-4-6-6. TOTALS: 18-16-19-58.


Kokinda 4-0-0-10, Weaver 0-3-3-3, Fisher 3-1-5-7, Penberth 3-5-6-13, Jones 0-0-0-0, Breiner 3-0-0-6, Buyce 1-0-0-2, Black 0-0-0-0, Maynard 0-0-0-0, Goida 2-3-3-7. TOTALS: 16-12-17-48.

Marian 8 18 13 19 - 58

Panther Vy. 10 9 13 10 - 48

Three-pointers: Marian - Thomas 3, Miller 2, Currie 1; Panther Valley - Kokinda 2, Penberth 2.

Julius Currie (23) of Marian dribbles past Panther Valley's Brody Breiner. At left is Marian's Jesse Rodino. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS