Lehighton traveled to Palmerton Friday night for a girls/guys doubleheader to open their respective basketball seasons.
At the end of the night, it was the Bombers holding serve on their home court and sweeping the Indians. The Lady Bombers won easily, 60-14, while the Blue Bombers won going away, 64-41.
The opening game of the night was never in doubt.
Palmerton started fast and kept the pedal to the metal through three quarters of play, only pulling back once the game was well in hand.
The Lady Bombers scored six points in 49 seconds and added another bucket 23 seconds later to force Lehighton into its first of many timeouts of the night. Palmerton used its full-court press to force the Indians into a handful of turnovers en route to a 24-5 first quarter lead.
The Bombers never looked back from there, as they outscored the Indians 56-14 through three quarters. While Palmerton head coach Don Delich was extremely happy with his girls play, he admitted that they played much better than even he expected.
"No, I did not expect to do this well," said Delich. "I am somewhat surprised, although I know what we are capable of. Tonight we just executed very well. We held them to 14 points and scored 60 ourselves. 60 points is a lot in girls' basketball."
It was all Palmerton in the first half. The Bombers did well on the offensive glass and collected ten offensive rebounds in the process. On the other side of the ball, they picked up seven first-half steals
Furthermore, the Palmerton defense held Lehighton leading-scorer Jordyn Homyak to zero points in the first half and just three for the entire game. Homyak didn't take her first shot until 30 seconds remained in the first quarter. Her first point didn't come until she sank a free throw at the 5:56 mark of the third quarter.
"She is an amazing player," said Delich of Homyak. "We focused obviously. We knew she was a stud. I told her before the game that I had to look at her for three years and that I am really glad she is finally graduating.
"Focusing on her was our priority. If you heard me yelling, I was probably yelling 'help, help help.' We are trying to really work on our help defense. I thought we did a great job. To hold her to three points… wow."
Kelsey Hay led the Palmerton with a game-high 15 points. Senior guard Casey Rinfret chipped in with 11, all of which came in the first half.
"I would like to think that we are about nine to ten deep," Delich said. "At any point in time I don't hesitate to even put some of our sophomores in. Those kids can play too."
As the boys' game unfolded, it looked more and more like a three-point shooting contest.
The two teams combined to hoist up 31 three-pointers in the first half. Eight went in, with six of them belonging to Palmerton.
At first the three-ball wasn't falling for the Bombers. Though they were down 13-7 at the end of the first quarter and had just one made three-pointers, Palmerton head coach Michael Snyder told his group to keep putting them up.
Finally, they started to fall. Ben Andrews got four to drop in the second quarter and helped his Bombers outscore the Indians by 15 points in the frame. In eight minutes, Palmerton went from down six to up nine as they headed into the break.
"We have a good team," said Snyder. "We are very confident. I told the kids to just keep shooting. I think they were nervous in the beginning.
"I told them to shoot it because we had open looks. We had some wide open looks. I said they were going to start falling and once they started to drop, that opened up the inside game."
The Bombers also made a defensive change that seemed to swing the momentum of the game. Snyder decided to go a box-and-one of Lehighton point guard D.J. Rossino and it seemed to work to perfection. The Indians turned the ball over a handful of times immediately after the defensive switch was made and allowed Palmerton to blow the game open.
"I think when (Palmerton) threw that box-and-one on Rossino we got a little out of sync," said Lehighton head coach Michael O'Brien. "We expected it, but we just started to throw the ball around.
"They took our good ball-handler away and it was tough for the other four kids to get into a groove. We were very inpatient at times."
Lehighton's leading scorer was Aaron Szacka. He tallied 11, including three three-pointers. He was the only Indians to score in double figures.
Andrews led all scorers with 21 points. Teammates Cody Geist and Brett Snyder added 15 and 12 points respectively. Geist got most of his points off of fast-break steals, while Snyder connected on two three-pointers in the first half.
"It was good," said Snyder. "I'm not happy with the slow start, but I told our kids that we weren't calling any timeouts. I told them that we are going to play through everything. It's going to be a learning experience, but we played through it."
Homyak 1-1-2-3, Green 0-0-0-0, Barklay 2-0-0-4, Magyar 0-0-0-0, Yurasits 0-0-0-0, Evans 0-0-0-0, German 0-0-0-0, Klotz 1-1-2-4, Schweizer 0-0-1-0, Teno 1-1-2-3, Cordova 0-0-0-0, Shelly 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 5-3-7-14.
Hadinger 0-0-0-0, Smith 1-0-0-2, Reimer 3-1-3-7, Rickert 0-1-2-1, Romano 2-0-0-5, Solt 0-0-0-0, Mummey 2-0-0-4, Graver 1-0-0-2, Meinhart 1-0-2-2, Eaton 0-0-0-0, Rinfret 5-0-0-11, Farquhar 1-5-5-7, Snyder 2-0-0-4, Hay 7-1-1-15, Reinhart 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-8-13-60.
Lehighton 5 4 5 0 - 14
Palmerton 24 15 17 4 - 60
Three-pointers: L - Klotz 1; P - Romano 1, Rinfret 1.
D. Rossino 1-2-6-4, Kresge 4-0-0-9, A. Rossino 0-0-0-0, Farano 0-0-0-0, Guyn 2-0-0-4, Scott 0-1-2-1, Gallager 0-2-2-2, Wall 1-4-6-6, Szacka 3-2-2-11, Evans 2-0-1-4. TOTALS: 13-11-19-41.
Horvath 0-1-2-1, Andrews 8-1-1-21, Svetik 4-0-0-8, Snyder 4-2-2-12, Leaver 1-0-0-2, Leon 0-0-0-0, Ruch 1-0-0-3, Gutekunst 0-0-0-0, Saylor 0-0-0-0, Geist 7-1-3-15, Reinhart 0-2-6-2. TOTALS: 25-7-14-64.
Lehighton 13 5 11 12 - 41
Palmerton 7 20 18 19 - 64
Three-pointers: L - Szacka 3, Kresge 1; P - Andrews 4, Snyder 2, Ruch 1.