There was a time when Penn Wood was an overmatched boys' basketball team.

Those days are long gone, and North Catholic got an up-close glimpse of why that is in yesterday's Pete Nelson Classic as the Patriots rolled over the Falcons, 78-65, at Widener University.

With the win, Penn Wood is 6-0 and off to its best start in recent history. The Patriots, ranked second in The Inquirer's top 10, opened with 5-1 records last season and in 2001-02.

This season's great start was not unexpected. Penn Wood returned four starters and 11 of 13 players from a team that finished 23-9 last season.

Balanced scoring is the main ingredient in the Patriots' success. Unfortunately for North Catholic (3-2), last night was no different.

Reserve guard Chris White led all scorers with 18 points. The 5-foot-8 senior scored all of his points on 6-of-8 shooting from three-point range. Junior point guard Tyree Johnson (12 points), Aaron Brown (12), junior center Shawn Oakman (11) and junior power forward Thomas White (10) also scored in double digits.

North Catholic finally closed its deficit to 57-55 on a three-point play by guard Mike Terry (15 points) with 4 minutes, 29 seconds remaining. But that was as close as the Falcons got as Penn Wood ended the game with a 21-10 run.

North Catholic 11 18 15 21 - 65

Penn Wood 23 10 18 27 - 78

NC: Rakeem Christmas 6, Xavier Harris 8, Jaleel Mack 7, Bob Makor 3, Jack O'Neill 10, Woody Redding 8, Josh Stevens 5, Mike Terry 15, Julian Huggins 3.

PW: Tyree Johnson 12, Duane Johnson 8, Aaron Brown 12, Thomas White 10, Shawn Oakman 11, Dequan Pelzer 7, Chris White 18.

Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029

or kpompey@phillynews.com.