The loss of six seniors from last year's Jim Thorpe Schuylkill League Division 1 championship team was realized immediately last night as the Lady Olympians lost their opening game to Schuylkill Haven 46-20. The highlight for Thorpe may have been Nikki Ennis' three pointer with barely three minutes gone by in the first quarter.
"We didn't think we'd be good tonight," said Thorpe coach Rob Kovac. "We're disappointed, but it's only night one."
Actually, the Olympians stayed in the game until the second quarter when 11 turnovers allowed the Lady Hurricanes, led by the hot shooting of sophomore, Emma Sweigert, to pull away to 27-8 advantage at the break. Jim Thorpe's defense seemed to have no answer for Sweigert who shot over their two-three zone as the 'Canes finished the quarter with a 16-4 run. Then, Haven coach Nick Reichert moved her to forward where she did more damage down low to finish the night with a game high 20 points.
"Last year we had seven injuries by the fourth game and we had to put Emma into the fire as a freshman," said Reichert. "You could see tonight how that experience has helped her. She has free reign to shoot and the results were obvious."
Haven looks to rebound from last year when they finished 3-19. They controlled the game most of the way and got good inside shots from Sarah Celani and Mallory Medaglia.
Though Jim Thorpe reduced their turnovers in the third quarter, poor shooting and offensive movement prevented them from making a comeback.
"We didn't use our left hand," remarked Kovac. "We played our right side only and we became easy to defend. That's what happens to young players. They get ratttled and then they resort to a comfort pattern of play that doesn't work."
Coach Kovac thought his team had some decent looks inside, but they did not finish their shots or convert on some easyut back opportunities. The final statistics prove his analysis as the Olympians shot only 16 percent from the floor.
After an evenly played third quarter, Haven finished strong led by the underneath play of Celani.
"Our game plan was to stall our offense in the first quarter because two of our starters were delayed getting to the game due to family matters." Said Reichert. "It worked out well for us. We had a great second and fourth quarter."
Kovac still remains positive that his squad can improve although it was a rough start to the season.
"We will get better because there are things we can fix," said Kovac. "We have to cut down on the turnovers and improve our transition game. We are so young and so new, but give Haven credit. They disrupted our offense all night long. Even so our players have to know they have to be held accountable for our team improve."
Jim Thorpe was led by Kat Condly who tallied seven points and was aggressive driving to the hoop and Nikki Ennis who scored six points on two threes.
"We are a work in progress," concluded Kovac. "All we can do now is get better between now and our next game."
Sweigert 9-2-4-20, Lehman 0-0-0-0, Celani -4-2-2-10, Werez- 0-0-0-0,Woleshok-3- 2-2-8, Medaglia 4-0-4-8, Speciale 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-6-8-46
Condly-3-1-5-7, Rusbarsky- 0-0-0-0, Becker-0-0-0-0, Ennis-2-0-0-6, Doughty-1-1-2-3, Cressman-1-0-0-2, Bush- 1-0-1-2, Shiago-0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 8-4-10-20
Sch. Haven 9 18 6 13 46
J. Thorpe 4 4 6 6 20
Three pointers: JT-Ennis 2.