"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."
The opening line of Charles Dickens' classic, 'A Tale of Two Cities," depicts what can closely relate to the Palmerton-Northwestern boys' basketball game last night, as the two halves of play worked out in such fashion. Northwestern's first half success yielded woes for the Bombers, before the second half turned out the exact opposite. However, it was the Tigers pulling out a 51-45 hard-fought Colonial League win.
Northwestern started out well, taking a 29-18 halftime lead. The Bombers did their best to get back in the ball game and they actually made things interesting late, but the Tigers were able to hang on for the victory.
"We've had some tough losses this season so far, where we had some spurts of errors, and tonight, we had that same type of spurt," Northwestern head coach Dan Eddinger admitted afterwards. "We were fortunate to have a big enough lead that we were able to hold on."
A Nick Frey three pointer gave the hosts a 7-6 lead with 3:47 left in the first, only to see Northwestern go on a 7-1 run the remainder of the frame. Logan Schwartz's five points and Collin Breidinger's four got things started, while Frey tallied five to keep it close.
Consecutive put-backs by Mark Quinn brought the score to 13-12, but the Tigers closed out the final five and a half minutes of the first half on a 16-6 push to take an 11-point intermission lead.
"Something kicked in," Palmerton head coach Leigh Keenan referenced to the different complexion of the game in the second half. "The fire isn't lit until one person does it. Once that one person makes things happen, the rest of the guys follow suit and join in."
Schwartz and Spencer Hay exchanged field goals early to open up the third quarter. Three points by Quinn cut it to eight (31-23) with five and a half to go, before a Collin Breidinger put-back and a lay-up off a steal by Josh Williamson gave them a 12-point lead with just over four remaining. Both sides managed nine apiece in the frame, bringing on the fourth period with Northwestern holding on to a 38-27 lead. Four different Tigers scored in the third, while Quinn's five and Hay's four yielded the Bombers' nine.
A 5-0 run by the Bombers cut the deficit to 44-34 with 3:41 to go, but the winners responded with a 5-1 push of their own to give them their biggest lead at 49-35 with 2:22 remaining.
A full-court, man-to-man pressure defense caused havoc for the Tiger backcourt, bringing about turnovers and bad shot selection, which the hosts took advantage of. A Dominic Shivone lay-up got a run started, followed closely by a Quinn put-back. After a pair of Williamson free throws for Northwestern, a Nick Frey lay-up cut it to 10 with 1:10 left. A Hay put-back with :32 left and a steal and a lay-up by Quinn with 12 ticks left brought about the final score.
"We just didn't execute our plays, I thought," Keenan mentioned. "It wasn't for a lack of effort on our part, but some mental mistakes here and there hurt us."
Eddinger was naturally happy to get the win, "A win is a win and we're happy with that. We wanted to pressure (Palmerton) and I think we did that effectively, to an extent, but we were fortunate to pull out the victory."
Collin Breidinger led the Tigers with a game-high 17 points, while Williamson followed with 12.
For the Bombers, Quinn's 13 points and 12 rebounds led the team, while Hay was next with 11 points and 10 boards.
Archer 0-0-0-0, Williamson 3-6-7-12, Mengel 0-0-0-0, Jones 1-0-0-3, Breidinger 4-0-0-9, C. Breidinger 7-2-4-17, Schwartz 3-0-2-7, Shuey 0-0-0-0, Richardson 1-1-4-3, Markovitch 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-9-17-51.
Hay 5-1-3-11, Achtermann 1-0-0-2, Svetik 0-0-0-0, Lesher 0-0-2-0, Frey 2-5-8-10, Suto 1-0-0-2, Quinn 5-3-8-13, Shivone 1-0-0-2, Andress 0-0-0-0, Buck 1-0-0-2, Stasko 1-0-0-2, Berger 0-1-2-1. TOTALS: 17-10-23-45.
Northwestern13 16 9 13 - 51
Palmerton 8 10 918 - 45
Three pointers: NW - Schwartz 1, Jones 1, T. Breidinger 1, C. Breidinger 1; P - Frey 1.