Northern Lehigh picked up some momentum by winning the Slatington Rotary Tournament last week and carried it through the Blue Mountain Gap on Tuesday night to hand Palmerton a 73-38 thumping as both resumed Colonial League action.
The Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1) exploded for 25 points right out of the gate and after Palmerton (1-7, 0-5) cut it to five with a little run to start the second quarter, the flood gates really opened.
"We needed to make some defensive stops and made some adjustments at halftime," said Northern Lehigh head coach Jeff Miller afterwards. "We just weren't locating shooters in the first half and made those adjustments and after we did we shut them down.
"We were able to pound the ball inside all night and then once we were able to make some stops we were able to up the lead a little bit."
Junior big men Lucas Pierce and Caleb Johnson continued to do damage inside for Northern Lehigh and Palmerton didn't have an answer.
"Giving up 25 points in the first quarter isn't a good way to start any game and giving up 73 points all together is flat out frustrating, borderline embarrassing and I'll take the hit for our defensive effort.," said Palmerton head coach Mick Stefanek. "There were a lot of breakdowns. They broke us down one-on-one, thy hit some key three-pointers and they got to the foul line.
"In the second quarter we got within five and they just got some separation going into half and then the second half was just terrible."
Johnson scored all 12 of his points and Pierce scored 14 of his 16 in the first half as the Bulldogs built up a 41-23 lead at intermission.
"Right now, they're playing quite well," Miller added. "Lucas is playing with a purpose and Caleb is just an outstanding athlete."
Northern Lehigh outscored Palmerton 16-2 to begin the second half and actually widened its lead to 61-32 entering the final eight minutes.
The Bombers scored just six points in the final quarter as both coaches cleared their benches setting the final score at 73-38.
Pierce and Johnson were the only two in doubles for the Bulldogs. Brett Snyder had 11 and Tyler Svetik 10 for the Bombers.
"We had too many turnovers and took some bad shots, but all in all I'm happy with where we are," said Miller. "We get to the meat of our schedule now playing some of the Southern Division teams that are all good. Hopefully we'll get on a little run and carry this in to the New Year."
Stefanek admitted that it's a very frustrating time right now for everyone in the program.
"We just have to keep working at it and get better the best we can," he said. "They (Northern Lehigh) was just more physical than us, they took it to us and hopefully we can get that kind of mentality developed within our program."
The Bulldogs also won the JV game by a 51-30 score as Darien Middaugh scored 13 points and Matt Egan added 10. Logan Lesher led Palmerton with nine.
George 2-2-2-7, Egan 1-0-0-2, Dibilio 2-0-0-5, J. Pristash 1-1-2-4, Glose 3-0-0-6, D. Pristash 0-0-0-0, Eden 3-0-0-7, Hofmann 1-0-0-2, Middaugh 1-2-2-4, Landsberger 4-0-0-8, Johnson 4-4-5-12, Pierce 7-2-2-16. TOTALS: 29-11-13-73.
Horvath 0-0-0-0, Svetik 4-0-0-10, B. Snyder 4-0-0-11, Leaver 1-0-0-2, Ruch 1-0-0-2, Shigo 0-0-0-0, Lesher 0-0-0-0, Leon 0-0-0-0, T. Snyder 0-0-0-0, Geist 3-2-4-9, Luers 0-0-2-0, Quinn 2-0-0-4. TOTALS: 15-2-6-38.
No. Lehigh 25 16 20 12 - 73
Palmerton 14 9 9 6 - 38
Three-pointers: NL - George 1, Dibilio 1, J. Pristash 1, Eden 1; P - B. Snyder 3, Svetik 2, Geist 1.