All it took Lehighton was three simple things to score a key victory over Northern Lehigh during opening night of the 33rd Annual Slatington Rotary Christmas Tournament.
"Just moving the ball, getting easy shots and then finishing them off," Lehighton senior James Farano said. "It all added up."
It may have taken them until the second half to figure that out, but the Indians earned a spot in the tournament championship with a 60-50 victory over the Bulldogs Thursday evening.
Instead of relying on a perimeter game like the Bulldogs did in the first half to keep things close, the Indians took advantage of one of the game's easiest shots – a lay-up.
"We were getting some good ball movement tonight," Farano said. "Anthony does a good job at point. We have some guys that can finish at the rim – Tyler Crum, Jordan Knappenberger and some others.
"It all came down to the ball movement, getting easy shots and finishing them."
While the Bulldogs and Indians exchanged leads six times throughout the first half, the visitors took the lead with 27.8 seconds left in the third quarter and never gave it back.
After shooting 15-for-26 in the first half, the Indians finished with six of their 18 lay-ups in the game in the third quarter. They built a comfortable lead, which hit a game-high 12 twice in the fourth quarter.
Farano led that charge by scoring six of his 16 points in the third quarter (four on two lay-ups), while Jordan Knappenberger hit for five of his 11 (on a jumper and a three-pointer).
"Offensively, we score points," Lehighton coach Rich Oertner said. "We were 1-for-10 from the three-point line in the first half. We just decided to go to the basket instead of anything else.
"I knew they were looking at foul trouble if we went to the basket. It was kind of our plan in the first half. But, we went to it in the second half. We know we usually shoot the ball better than what we did."
While the Indians scored eight other times on jumpers or three-pointers, the Bulldogs couldn't really hit from inside or outside (18-for-40 from the floor, 8-for-20 in the second half).
"We didn't step up to stop the penetration," Northern Lehigh coach Jeff Miller said. "We didn't get one offensive charge. We just kind of let them kind of get to the rim unfortunately and they did a good job of getting there and finishing off. Tonight we just didn't shoot the ball real well.
"We were just hoping to make one last run and we just didn't have it in us to make it. We will go back at it tomorrow and hopefully come out and play well against Jim Thorpe."
Tyler Crum led the Indians with 17 points. Anthony Rossino had 12 points. The Bulldogs' Tyler DiBilio scored a game-high 18 points.
Rossino 4-4-7-12, Farano 8-0-0-16, Crum 8-0-1-17, McCandless 0-0-0-0, Chambers 1-0-0-2, J. Knappenberger 5-0-0-11, Mele 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 27-4-8-60.
M. Egan 3-1-2-9, DiBilio 8-0-0-18, Shupp 0-0-0-0, J. Egan 2-0-0-6, Hofmann 2-2-2-6, Landsberger 4-3-4-11. TOTALS: 19-6-8-50.
Lehighton 15 18 19 8 – 60
No. Lehigh 17 12 14 7 – 50
Three-pointers: Lehighton – Crum 1, J. Knappenberger 1; No. Lehigh – M. Egan 2, DiBilio 2, J. Egan 2.