Palmerton head girls coach Don Delich and Lehighton boys basketball coach Rich Oertner both wore smiles following victories in the annual Lehighton-Palmerton boys-girls varsity doubleheader to start of the high school regular season on Friday night.
The Lady Bombers pulled away in the third quarter for a 60-34 victory over the Lady Indians in the opener. The Lehighton boys turned up the defense in the final three quarters and took charge for a 57-39 win over Palmerton in the nightcap.
Quick start lifts Palmerton girls
The Lady Bombers jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Jade Farquhar scored five of her eight points in the first quarter, while Morgan Mummey and Lauryn Solt added four apiece for Palmerton. The Lady Indians got a three-pointer from Kasaundra Barclay and two from Emily Shelly.
"When we play hard there are a lot of good things that happen," said Palmerton head coach Don Delich. "Good defense leads to good offense. They were missing their best player from last year (Taylor Yurasits) and we tried to take advantage of it.
"I think our two bigs (Emelie Meinhart and Lauryn Solt) played well tonight. We knew Emelie would play well, but what we didn't know was how Lauryn was going to react in her first time playing in over a year here. She scored on the offensive end, made some good passes, but more important, I thought she played great defense, clogged up the middle and rebounded well."
Barclay's six points in the second quarter brought the Lady Indians back to within 29-19 at intermission. The Lady Bombers, turned on the jets in the third quarter, outscoring Lehighton 21-3 to take a 50-22 lead into the final eight minutes.
Both coaches emptied their benches in the final quarter with Lehighton holding a 12-10 scoring edge.
"Our scoring was pretty balanced tonight," said Delich. "We're a pretty balanced team. On any given night, any player can score in double figures. Tonight was just an example of it."
Meinhart finished with a game-high 15 points, while Solt added 11. Barclay led Lehighton with 14.
Second quarter key
for Lehighton boys
After taking an early lead, the Indians watched the Bombers claw back to tie it at 20-20 at the end of the first quarter before taking control.
"I've got to give them a lot of credit," said Lehighton head coach Rich Oertner. "Somehow they scouted us pretty heavy because everything we ran, they were ready for and we had to play through what they knew we were doing. We got a little too impatient at the start. There was too many jitters. We were going for every steal in the book and their younger kids did a pretty good job going back door."
The Indians tightened up their defense and rode the hot hand of Tyler Crum in the second quarter as he scored nine of his team's 17 points. On the other hand, the Bombers were able to score just seven points and trailed 37-27 at the half.
The Lehighton defense continued to cause problems in the second half as Palmerton was able to score just 12 points the rest of the way.
Crum finished the night with 16 points and was matched by Jacen Nalesnik who also had 16. Palmerton's Mark Quinn finishes with 15 points.
"Our players, whoever was out on the court, played with a lot of emotion, a lot of passion, but that only takes you so far," said Palmerton head coach Mick Stefanek. "At key times in the game, Lehighton was able to go on some runs because of our inexperience at both ends of the court.
"I'm very happy with the effort, but now it's time to match that effort with execution and that'll come."
Rossino 0-0-0-0, Shelly 2-0-0-4, Green 0-0-0-0, Barclay 5-1-2-14, Fital 0-4-4-4. Blasiak 2-1-3-5, Durishin 1-3-5-5, Smith 0-0-0-0, Thompson 1-0-0-2, Rehrig 0-0-0-0, Cordova 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 11-9-14-34.
Paulinho 0-0-0-0, Alban 0-0-0-0, Krupa 3-2-4-8, Mad. Mummey 3-0-0-6, Farquhar 2-3-4-8, Mor. Mummey 4-0-0-8, Tracy 0-0-0-0, Meinhart 6-3-3-15, Solt 5-1-4-11, Reimer 2-0-0-4, Nemeth 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-9-15-60.
Lehighton 5 14 3 12 - 34
Palmerton 19 10 21 10 - 60
Three-pt. FG's: Lehighton - Barclay (3); Palmerton - none.
Rossino 3-2-2-8, Farano 3-0-0-7, Crum 6-3-4-16, Zwetolitz 0-0-0-0, Williams 0-0-0-0, McCandless 0-0-0-0, Thompson 0-0-0-0, Jord. Knappenberger 1-3-3-6, Mele 2-0-0-4, Nalesnik 7-1-1-16. TOTALS: 22-9-10-57.
Hay 4-0-0-8, Shigo 0-0-0-0, Lesher 2-0-0-4, Pereira 0-0-0-0, Leaver 2-3-4-8, Quinn 6-3-4-15, Shivone 0-0-0-0, Koma 0-0-0-0, Buck 0-0-0-0, Frey 2-0-0-4, Luers 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-6-8-39.
Lehighton 20 17 11 9 - 57
Palemrton 20 7 6 6 - 39
Three-pt. FG's: Lehighton - Farano (1), Crum (1), Nalesnik (1). Palmerton - Leaver (1).