ANDOVER - It may be December, but the Pymatuning Valley Lakers went outside for a 52-24 victory over visiting Champion on Tuesday night.
The Lakers (3-0, 1-0 Northeastern Athletic Conference) were able to connect on several first-quarter 3-pointers.
"Our offense was good early, kids knocked them down," Pymatuning Valley coach Ryan Fitch said.
Quintin Ratliff, who scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the first quarter, hit two of those treys.
"Everyone was doing their part. It was a team effort," Ratliff said.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Lakers pressured Champion like no other. The Golden Flashes (1-3) were never able to gain a flow on offense.
"Coach always said get ball side up, show people what we can do," Ratliff said.
"Best 'D' I've seen in four years," Fitch said. "Digs, checkouts, boxes, good man-to-man, it was like a video you show to people (on how to play defense).
"They have some good shooters. Close out, containing shooters. The kids are buying in," he said of the Lakers' hustle and determination on defense.
Ratliff finished the game with three steals, three assists and two rebounds for the Lakers.
PV jumped out to a 13-2 lead to start and led, 16-4, after one quarter. The second quarter continued Pymatuning Valley's success on both ends of the floor, outmatching Champion in the second quarter, 17-3, and led, 33-7, at the half.
The third quarter continued as much of the same for both teams.
"We couldn't get the ball in the basket. We couldn't finish man," Champion coach Doug Foster said. "We have to play a little harder, with a little more passion and we can be a pretty good team. All credit to those guys, Ryan does a good job with them."
"Play with some passion," he repeated as the key to improving on the rest of the early season.
Tim Cross scored 10 points for the Lakers, Austin Nowakowsi scored six, Grant Nowakowski scored four points and had a game-high eight rebounds, and Evan Pilson scored six points. Joey Hunt scored six points, as well.
Ryan Simsa, Tyler Bishop and Chris Miller each had four points to lead the Golden Flashes.