The secret to the Jim Thorpe Lady Olympians success on the court this season has undoubtedly been due to two things.
First, Thorpe's up-tempo style of play and full-court pressure. Second, the play of Celeste Robinson.
Robinson has been scoring the basketball consistently and leading the Schuylkill League in scoring averaging 27.0 points per game.
However, on Tuesday night in a big-time Division I match-up of unbeatens, the Blue Mountain girls handled the Lady Olympians pressure throughout and held Robinson to 15 points en-route to a 41-35 victory.
The Thorpe defensive attack was really limited with the Lady Olympians getting in foul trouble early on. Robinson and Thorpe's second leading-scorer Chelsea Smelas each picked up their second fouls early in the second quarter turning Jim Thorpe's turn-over prone defense into a token pressure type defense for the rest of the ball game.
"We only played our style of basketball for about three minutes tonight," said Jim Thorpe coach Rob Kovac. "They made us play their style of basketball, which is a half-court style of play. I'll take responsibility for our play in the half-court because I have to do a better job of getting the girls in position to score."
The reason for Thorpe's foul trouble came from their inability to rebound the basketball. The Lady Eagles created second and third shot opportunities throughout the night, a lot of times drawing a foul in the process.
"We talked about how key it was to battle them on the boards tonight, but they just beat us up a little bit in the paint," said Kovac. "Most of our fouls came from not getting rebounds and we have to do a better job of doing the next time we play them. I'm excited to get another crack at them and I think this game will make us a better team. There is a lot of resolve in the lockeroom tonight from our girls and I know we're going to be just fine moving forward."
Blue Mountain, who did dominate the boards for the entire contest didn't finish their second chance opportunities in the first half. The Lady Eagles out-scored Thorpe 26-14 in the second half by doing a better job of finishing their inside field goals attempts.
"We just didn't do a good job of finishing inside in the first half," said Blue Mountain coach Ruth Weidman. "We're excited to get the big win here and I think we've split the last couple seasons with this senior group. They're a good basketball team and if we don't put four solid quarters together next time we'll probably be on the other side of things."
The Lady Eagles Shanelle Koch led Blue Mountain with 13 points, with eight of them coming in the second half. Anne Schu chipped in with 10 for Blue Mountain as well.
Kristin Lawrence was the only other Lady Olympian in double figures with 12 points.
Kerns 1-2-4-4, Koch 4-5-7-13, Grapsy 0-2-5-2, Starr 2-0-2-4, Shpakovsky 0-0-0-0, Schu 5-0-1-10, Moyer 0-0-0-0, Woleshock 0-0-0-0, Foster 4-0-0-8, TOTALS: 16-9-19-41.
McEmoyle 0-0-3-0, Batts 1-0-0-2, Lawrence 4-0-0-12, Condly 0-0-0-0, Robinson 6-3-5-15, Mosteller 0-0-0-0, Smelas 3-0-0-6. TOTALS: 14-3-8-35.
Blue Mountain 9 6 10 16 - 41
Jim Thorpe 11 10 5 9 - 35
Three-pointers: JT- Lawrence 4.