Panther Vy. tops Thorpe
Panther Valley’s Rene Figueroa drives to the basket past Jim Thorpe’s Tyler Burak. For a video go to www.tnonline.com. BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS
Shooters shoot. It’s a popular saying among those in the basketball community.
It means that even if a good shooter is struggling, the shooter will continue to take shots because they believes in their ability. That’s exactly what Panther Valley needed to do on Tuesday night.
The Panthers have proved this season they can certainly shoot, especially from beyond the arc as they lead the Times News area with 101 three-pointers in 10 games (10 three-pointers per game).
Panther Valley continued that trend against Jim Thorpe in a Schuylkill League Division 1 battle, hitting eight triples en route to a 57-47 victory over the Olympians.
A team’s ability to shoot the three can help it fend off runs, and that’s what the Panthers (9-2) were able to do in this one. It was a tight contest most of the way, with the action heating up at the end of the third quarter.
PV used the long ball to gain separation at the end of the third frame. After Thorpe (6-7) battled back from a six-point deficit at the half to take a one-point lead around the two-minute mark in the third, the Panthers’ shooters caught fire. Back-to-back trifectas from Brandon Stilitino, and then another triple from Trey Turner gave Panther Valley a quick 9-0 run and an eight-point lead.
“Credit has to go to Coach (Jason) McElmoyle and his players, they did a good job on Rene (Figueroa), and they just had a good defensive game plan,” said Panthers’ head coach Pat Crampsie. “I was a little disappointed that we didn’t execute and we didn’t work the ball well at times, but we hung tough.
“Rene was struggling a bit tonight, but we had some other guys step up and make shots and make plays. You’re going to have these types of nights in Division 1, where some guys might be off, so other guys need to step up. Our guys stayed together and did that tonight.”
The fourth quarter confirmed the age-old adage that basketball is a game of runs. Leading by four early in the quarter, it looked as if PV put Thorpe away with a 7-0 run that gave it an 11-point lead with 5:31 remaining.
But the Olympians, as they did all night, stormed back with a 9-0 run of their own to cut the lead to two (46-44) at the three-minute mark. Nathan Rosahac, who led Thorpe with 15 points and double-digit rebounds, was big during the run, scoring five points, including a three-point play underneath to spark the surge.
“I’m proud of the way our kids fought tonight. They played hard, and you can see we’re getting better,” said McElmoyle. “There were just some plays — some tipped balls that came back to them, some second-chance balls that went their way - and they made it count by knocking down shots. That’s a good team, they’re 9-2 for a reason, but we battled back all night, I liked the way we battled.”
The Panthers’ toughness, confidence from the guard positions and foul shooting efficiency down the stretch proved too much for the Olympians to overcome. After Thorpe inched within two, PV closed out the game on an 11-3 run, tightening up its defense and going 9-for-11 from the free throw line during that span.
“This is a game that last year we might not have won. When a team went on a run or things started to go wrong, it might’ve snowballed on us in the opposite direction,” added Crampsie. “But tonight, our guys hung in there and stayed together. There’s a bunch of competitors on this team, and they play with intensity. I’ll take that kind of team every night.”
STEPPING UP ... Thorpe’s defense held the area’s leading scorer — Figueroa — to just eight points, but Stilitino (17) and Erick Marchorro (16) combined for 33. For Thorpe, Zach Searfoss finished with 14 points.
LIVE BY THE THREE ... Add eight more three-pointers to Panther Valley’s already ridiculous 101 coming into the game, and that’s 109 in 11 games — an average of 9.9 per contest.
Marchorro 7-0-0-16, Stilitino 5-2-2-17, Buzzard 1-0-0-2, Turner 1-3-4-6, Figueroa 1-6-8-8, White 3-0-0-6, Brettle 0-2-2-2. TOTALS: 18-13-16-57.
Searfoss 5-2-3-14, Burak 2-2-2-7, Hurley 1-0-0-2, Condly 1-0-0-2, Adames 3-1-2-7, Lauer 1-0-0-2, Rosahac 6-3-9-15. TOTALS: 18-8-15-47.
Panther Vy. 12 11 16 18 - 57
Jim Thorpe 12 5 16 14 - 47
Three-pointers: PV - Stilitino 5, Macharro 2, Turner 1; JT - Searfoss 2, Burak 1.