Jim Thorpe looked good on Thursday night in their Schuylkill League Division I clash with North Schuylkill.
Unfortunately, for the Olympians (4-2) they only looked good in spurts and couldn't piece together a consistent offensive attack the rest of the ball game. The Spartans took advantage and bounced back from a 12-2 first quarter deficit to post a 62-52 Schuylkill League Division I victory.
Jim Thorpe got out to a fast start jumping all over North Schuylkill from the opening tip forcing the Spartans to commit turnovers which in turn resulted in transition buckets for the Olympians. Then a Darius Clark Three from the corner put Thorpe up 10-2 and that was all the North Schuylkill coaching staff could take, calling a timeout to re-group the Spartans for a possible run.
That timeout was just what the doctor ordered for North Schuylkill's turnover issues as they stormed back to close within four going into the second quarter.
The Spartans were also shaky throughout, but scored 19 points in the second quarter and went into the half with a 29-28 lead at the half.
In the third, North Schuylkill took control out-scoring Thorpe 17-8, pounding the ball inside for easy baskets. A huge reason for the Spartans success inside was big-man Brandon McCloskey, who scored 20 of his game-high 21 points in the second half.
"The third quarter was definitely the difference tonight," said Jim Thorpe Coach Brian Carroll. "We just didn't execute down the stretch and you have to credit North Schuylkill because they shut us down offensively in the second half. They also beat us up inside with McCloskey and we have to do a better job of playing physical down-low as the season moves forward."
Foul trouble was also a problem for the Olympians, with leading scorer Darius Clark and shooting guard PJ Johnson picking up two fouls each in the first quarter. Clark would eventually pick up his third in the second and would have to sit out for a good part of that quarter.
"Not having Darius for most of the second really hurt us," said Carroll. "That's the risk you take sometimes when you play up-tempo full-court defense. You just have to hope the kids stay out of foul trouble."
Thorpe made a run at the Spartans in the fourth and actually got within six points, but the disciplined North Schuylkill half-court offense forced the Olympians to have to foul and the Spartans iced the game from the charity stripe.
Jaquan Brown tallied 15 points, PJ Johnson scored 14, and Darius Clark chipped in with 11 for the Olympians.
Motsney 3-2-2-8, Meyer 4-3-6-11, Damiter 0-2-2-2, McCloskey 9-3-5-21, Marone 0-0-0-0, Walsh 4-1-4-9, Rakowsky 3-4-7-11, Kovach 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-15-16-62.
Harelston 1-0-0-3, St.Hill 0-0-0-0, Joyner 0-0-0-0, Moore 0-0-0-0, Lynch 0-0-0-0, Ciavarella 3-0-0-6, Brown 7-1-4-15, Clark 4-2-4-11, Johnson 6-2-5-14, Ennis 1-1-2-3. TOTALS: 22-6-15-52.
North Schuylkill 10 19 17 16 - 62
Jim Thorpe 14 14 8 16 - 52
Three-pointers: NS- Rakowsky 1; JT- Clark 1, Harelston 1.