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Boys Basketball: Petersen scores 27 as Pitman gets past Palmyra

02/21/2020, 9:45pm EST
By Joe Tansey, SJSD

With the senior guard in the lineup the Panthers continue preparations for the Group 1 playoffs

PALMYRA -- With or without Rob Petersen on the court, Pitman knows how to put together a complete team performance. 

Petersen led the Panthers with 27 points and seven assists in Friday’s 60-54 win over Palmyra.

His well-rounded game gives Pitman two ways to beat opponents. 

“Teams are going to concentrate on Rob, being the type of player he is,” Pitman head coach Ron Myers said. “Rob is going to give a lot of guys chances to shoot the ball. When they do that, you’re not going to focus on him as much.” 

When Palmyra keyed in on Petersen, the Pitman supporting cast struck from beyond the arc. 

Justin Ruffino contributed a trio of triples in the third period to open up Pitman’s first double-digit advantage and keep Palmyra at bay. 

“We have to create for ourselves if they are going to double him the whole game,” Ruffino said. “The coach and fans were saying ‘Let him shoot’ so I pulled the trigger and made a few.

"We know what we’re capable of and if they double him we have to shine. It’s as simple as that." 

Ruffino and others were handed additional responsibilities when Petersen was out for eight games.

“Unfortunately, Rob got hurt, but in those games that he missed, the other guys were able to carve out a little bit more of a role for themselves and didn’t have to rely on Rob to create so much,” Myers said. 

“You never want to see anyone get hurt, but if you take anything away from that, guys had to step up in his absence so it worked out in our favor a little bit.” 

Petersen re-entered a lineup with more confidence, and his skill set lends to more success for his team, whether it be scoring at a high clip, or dishing out assists. 

“He’s a very good all-around player,” Myers said. “He’s the type of player that will go out and beat you with 15 assists or score 30. He can do both. Tonight we asked him to go point guard and he did a great job and was working on both ends.” 

Petersen’s range from a few feet behind the three-point line makes him even harder to guard because it challenges defenders to make a decision they typically don’t have to so far from the basket. 

"That’s something I worked on in the offseason especially,” Petersen said. “If you have range like that, someone has to guard you out there and that opens up a lot, especially with getting assists. Guys guard you out there, you blow by them and get assists. It’s something I worked on a lot and it’s something I pride myself on a lot. I think the range is very beneficial.” 

The next tests for Pitman are against Williamstown and Delsea, who it hopes will prepare it more for the start of the South Jersey Group 1 playoffs. 

“Teams like Williamstown and Delsea, who we are going to play on Monday and Tuesday, are going to help us prepare for what we are going to see in terms of style of play,” Myers said.

“They are bigger and more physical than other teams and it’s only going to be beneficial. At this point, wins and losses don’t really matter. Playoff seeds are what they are. If we can come out of there and gain some momentum and feel good about how we play it’s going to benefit us.”

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