Expect more of the same from Panthers’ offense
Members of the Panther Valley boys basketball team this season include, front row from left, managers Corrigan Crampsie, Kallan Cramsie; middle row, Shawn Hoben, Justin Juracka, Erick Marchorro, Bryce Krapf, Matthew Roig; back row, Geno Turner, Mike Pascoe, Collin Eidle, Jake Hernandez, Austin Hadley, Aaron Gutierrez, Brandon Stilitino, Anthony Roth, Blake White and head coach Pat Crampsie. RON GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Run and gun.
It has been a recent recipe for success for the Panther Valley boys basketball program.
Over the past two seasons, the Panthers have used that style of play to go 31-18, qualify for the postseason, and earn District 11 championship game and state tournament berths in 2017-18.
With the loss of All State guard Rene Figueroa (24.4 points per game a year ago) — the program’s all-time leading scorer — one may assume a change in style could be on the horizon.
But, that won’t be the case.
The Panthers still return a talented backcourt in seniors Brandon Stilitino and Erick Marchorro, meaning the team’s run-and-gun brand will be back in 2019-20. The Panthers connected on 204 three-pointers last season, and the offense will once again count on perimeter shooting to stretch opposing defenses.
“Offensively, you’re going to see a style very similar to last year,” said Panther coach Pat Crampsie. “You will see an open offense that will allow our shooters to shoot and our penetrators to get to the rim.
“We have two good guards returning in Brandon and Erick, and then some other nice pieces. We’re going to look to get out and run and get everybody scoring the basketball. We know one or two guys aren’t going to replace the scoring we lost from last season, so everyone is going to have to help out.”
The Panthers averaged an impressive 66.78 points per game a season ago, with graduates Figueroa and Trey Turner (8.35 ppg) combing for almost half of the team’s point total.
Stilitino and Marchorro will be counted on to help replace a lot of that production. Stilitino was the team’s second leading scorer last season, averaging nearly 12 points per game, including a team-high 70 three-pointers. Marchorro also put together a nice junior season, averaging just under 10 points per game, hitting from beyond the arc 27 times. The backcourt mates are key to the Panthers getting back to the postseason.
“Brandon has worked hard this offseason, and he’s made himself into a complete player,” Crampsie said. “He’s always had shooting ability, but now he’s worked on getting to the basket, and he’s improved there.
“Erick improved his outside shooting last season and became a real threat from the three-point line, and he’s always been solid at getting to the basket. The skill is there for sure, and we’re going to need those two guys to really step up leadership-wise for us. That’s going to be big for us.”
Also returning for the Panthers is do-it-all athlete Blake White. White, who was a standout on the football field in the fall, averaged 5.3 points per game last season, led the team in steals and was second in rebounds. White will draw the opposing team’s best offensive player nightly, and can play every position on the floor. Aaron Gutierrez, Austin Hadley, Collin Eidle and Bryce Krapf are also expected to see significant varsity minutes. “Blake is going to be big for us; he does a really nice job, a gifted athlete that does whatever we ask him to do,” Crampsie said. “A key for us will be our supporting cast. I think we have a group of guys that are getting better and competing and like I said, we’re going to need everyone to help out and make an impact.”
Crampsie, who will look to get more players on the floor this season, said the remainder of the varsity roster — spots eight through 14 — are all still up for grabs.