When things aren't going well, you need a spark to get things going.
After racing out to a 7-0 lead early, the Northwestern Tiger basketball team turned the ball over again and again. That gave Palmerton the edge to outscore the visitors 19-6 over a ten-minute period of the first half to take a 19-17 lead at half.
That is where Kevin Oxley steps in.
"We came out flat, we had fifteen turnovers and that shouldn't happen," Oxley said. "They came out and they were beating us up."
Head coach B.J. Dugan agreed.
"We turned the ball over due to (Palmerton's) energy and their aggressiveness," he said. "Their traps forced us to throw the ball around."
After a basket by Palmerton's Brett Snyder to start the half, Oxley became the Tiger offense scoring his teams first nine points of the second half. Two quick scores tied the game 21-21.
Palmerton would pull ahead again by four but Oxley's lone trey on the night cut the score to 27-26. The spark ignited his teammates.
"Ox is the key to our offense and when he gets going good things happen for the rest of our offense," Dugan said.
"He really picked us up," Tiger forward Trevor German said. "When he made those shots he really lifted my energy."
German's two free throws at the end of the half gave the Tigers their first lead since early in the game, 28-27. This ignited the fire that decided the game.
Tiger guard Sean Nagle hit back-to-back three pointers to start the fourth quarter and German foul shot gave Northwestern a 35-28 lead.
"That really gave us the upper hand and gave us the momentum down the stretch," Northwestern head coach B.J. Dugan said.
The Bombers fought back with a bucket by sophomore Tyler Svetik and Snyder's second trey of the game. Marcin's basket with 2:28 left cut the lead to 38-35 but could not come any closer.
Palmerton center Tyler Kravetz scored eight points underneath the basket in first half and finished with eight rebounds, but the Tiger defense stiffened. With the ball and time winding down, German stepped up and created the game-sealing turnover.
German knocked down 8-of-11 foul shots, including six of eight in the fourth quarter to push the score to its final. Nagle, who netted four treys, and German led the Tigers (3-2, 2-1) with 12-points.
Palmerton missed a golden opportunity to cut the lead to one. Down 38-35 with 0:58 second left, Christian Marcin stole the ball and headed in for what appeared ot be an easy two. The ball rattled out as did the Bombers opportunity to win the game.
"That's just a mistake we need to stop making," Snyder said. "We have to stop saying we're young and we have to start saying we got the job done."
They did early on. Marcin's two foul shots with 26 seconds left in the half, Palmerton built their largest lead (19-13).
"We created a lot of turnover in the first half," Snyder explained. "In the second half we weren't as tenacious as we needed to be. They penetrated through us and that hurt us."
For the Bombers (1-4, 0-3), Snyder racked up a game-high 13 points including two from beyond the arc.
Northwestern does not have time to sit back and enjoy the win as it plays a tough Bangor team tonight.
In the JV contest, Peyton Bachman led all scorers with seven points in Northwestern's 35-29 win.
Lerner 0-3-4-3, Nagle 4-0-0-12, Rivera 0-0-0-0, Roth 0-0-0-0, Koenig 0-0-0-0, Oxley 4-0-0-9, German 2-8-11-12, Betz 2-0-1-4, Totals: 12-11-16-40.
Furry 0-2-2-2, Freed 0-0-0-0, Marcin 2-2-2-6, Snyder 5-1-2-13, Andrews 1-0-0-2, Svetik 2-0-0-4, Kravetz 4-0-5-8, Reinhart 0-0-0-0. Totals: 14-5-11-35.
Northwestern 9 8 11 12 – 40
Palmerton 9 10 9 7 – 35
Three-pointers: NW – Nagle 4, Oxley 1; P – Snyder 2.