Jim Thorpe looked poised on Friday night to snap out of its five-game skid and take with them a very important Division I victory.
Pine Grove on the other hand had a different idea on how the Olympians night should end. The Cardinals rallied in the final quarter to solidify a 60-56 Schuylkill League Division I victory.
From the onset the Cardinals and Olympians went hoop for hoop and neither squad showed signs of slowing down offensively. Pine Grove at times became timid on the offensive end, but its ability to shoot the three-ball eventually got them going.
"We have a few first year varsity guys this year," said Pine Grove coach David Archer. "Our timidness comes from our younger group not having confidence and being unsure of themselves when we're setting up our offense. Once the ball gets into our more experienced players hands we get some shots up and everything moves a lot better for us."
Jim Thorpe and Pine Grove both shot the ball well throughout the night, except for one area. Thorpe shot just 1-for-8 from the foul line where the Cards shot 9-for-14. Pine Grove got to the line 10 times in fourth, converting six free throws.
"The free throws really hurt us," said Thorpe coach Brian Carroll. "In order to win close games you have to shoot well from the foul line and we didn't do that tonight."
The Olympians also let the Cardinals back into the game time and time again with defensive breakdowns
As soon as Thorpe would pull away to a five or six-point lead, Olympian defenders would get lost in transition, in turn giving up uncontested three-pointers for the Cardinals. Pine Grove netted nine treys in the game, including five in the second half.
"I thought our kids gave great effort, we just have to work on finishing games," said Carroll. "This one really frustrates us because we feel like we let it slip away. It just came down to them putting the ball in the basket a little more than us in the fourth quarter."
"I don't think we played all that well tonight, but you have to tip your hat to Jim Thorpe," said the Cards coach Archer. "They played a great game and luckily we made just made some shots to edge them out for the win."
The Olympians posted three players in double figures led by Dane Ciavarella's 17 points. Darius Clark tallied 16 and PJ Johnson chipped in 10.
T. Zimerman 2-2-3-7, Rossi 1-0-0-2, Gerber 0-1-1-1, Wolfe 2-0-0-4, Burke 7-5-6-21, L. Zimmerman 6-1-3-17, Keiser 3-0-0-8, Zerbe 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-9-14-60.
Ciavarella 8-0-0-17, Freeman 3-0-0-8, Brown 1-0-0-2, Clark 6-1-2-16, Johnson 5-0-4-10, Ennis 1-0-0-3, Baombolia 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-1-8-56.
Pine Grove 10 17 16 17 – 60
Jim Thorpe 13 14 20 9 – 56
Three-pointers: PG – L. Zimmerman 4, Keiser 2, Burke 2, T. Zimmerman 1. JT – Clark 3, Freeman 2, Ciavarella 1, Ennis 1.