After the Panthers had built a 22-9 first-period lead, the Patriots began closing the gap in the second quarter. Penn Wood began to take command of the game when it started to press on defense. As a result, said Strath Haven coach Mark Taylor, his team "got a little flustered" and "stopped doing things well."
By halftime, Strath Haven's 13-point lead had dwindled to one-point (40-39).
Cifuni said steals turned out to be a critical factor for his Patriots. They picked off 17 from the Panthers. David Bailey, a 5-foot, 9-inch Patriot guard, paced the effort, snatching 7 steals for the night.
In all, the Patriots forced 27 turnovers from the Panthers. The Patriots gave up the ball 30 times.
Cifuni attributed the turnovers to the fast pace of the game - a pace that he said is a hallmark of his team and that he intends to continue.
The Patriots were led in scoring by Dean Awkard with 19. Bailey had 16 points and Kurtis Carter also had 16. Pat Evans led the Panthers with 17.