Before Saturday night's game, Marian coach John Patton was worried about his team.
The Colts were coming off a pair of dramatic overtime victories against Shenandoah and Mahanoy Area and were facing a Weatherly team that they had easily beaten earlier this season. Add in the fact that Marian had a week off between games and that Weatherly was coming in on a high note after recently qualifying for Districts, and it was easy to see why Patton was concerned about a letdown.
If Patton was told his team would commit eight turnovers in the first quarter and its top scorer would be held to just six points in the game, he would have been even more worried.
As it turned out, there was nothing to worry about as Marian dominated Weatherly for most of the game to earn a 62-29 Schuylkill League victory.
"I told my players before we started that this was a trap game," said Patton. "I feared a letdown based upon our circumstances over the past two weeks."
Marian (17-5, 9-4), which leads the TIMES NEWS area in scoring defense, holding opponents to just 40 points a game, shut down Weatherly's offense as the Wreckers (11-8, 5-8) shot only 33% from the floor and were held to single digits in each quarter.
"Marian is just bigger, stronger, and faster," said Weatherly coach Ron Cann. "They took us off our scheme with their man to man pressure."
After Charlie Wallish opened the scoring for the Wreckers just ten seconds into the game, Marian took off on a 12-0 run led by Anthony Agosti and Alden Whah. Weatherly's Brett Stallone then scored five points in 15 seconds to cut the Colts' lead to five when the first horn sounded.
In the second quarter, Whah continued his strong offensive play in the low post while Nick Kweder drilled two of his four three-pointers to help open Marian's lead to 11 points at the break.
"We stressed that our guards play deliberately at the start of the third quarter against their triangle and two and we were able to hit some key shots," said Patton.
The Colts advantage ballooned to 15 points as Agosti was three for three from the field and Kweder and Ryan Karnish each chipped in with three point jumpers. Weatherly continued to have trouble against Marian's man defense, scoring on two of nine shots.
"We have to learn how to execute and set better screens against man defenses, especially as we approach the playoffs," said Cann.
In the final quarter, Whah's free throw after a put back increased the Colts' lead to 49-21 at the 6:25 mark before both teams cleared their benches.
"I'm happy with the way things are going for us," said Patton. "We are definitely gaining confidence with some good wins as we approach the playoffs."
Marian's scoring was paced by three players in double figures as Whah led with 14 points followed by Kweder's 12 and Agosti's 11.
The Wreckers were led by Stallone's 11 points and Joe Haganey who tallied 10.
"Despite the loss I am really pleased with our team," said Cann. "I am so happy for our seniors who have put in a great deal of effort to get us back to the District playoffs. The rest of our games are all gravy for us."
Agosti 5-0-0-11, Whah 6-2-4-14, Kweder 4-0-0-12, R. Karnish 2-0-0-6, Richards 2-0-0-4, Swankoski 1-2-2-4, Talbott 3-2-2-9, N. Agosti 0-0-0-0, M. Karnish 0-0-0-0, Paisley 0-0-0-0, Legath 0-0-0-0, Pastupack 0-0-0-0, Mussoline 1-0-0-2, Verkasy 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-6-8-62.
Kelly 0-0-0-0, Bizarre 0-0-0-0, L. Reiner 1-0-0-2, Miller 0-0-0-0, Stallone 5-0-0-11, Wallish 2-0-4-4, Figas 0-0-0-0, J. Reiner 1-0-0-2, Baade 0-0-0-0, Heganey 4-2-4-10, Combs 0-0-0-0, Carone 0-0-0-0, Busher 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 13-2-8-29.
Marian 12 14 18 18 - 62
Weatherly 7 8 6 8 29
Three-pointers: Marian - A. Agosti 1, Kweder 4, R.Karnish 2, Talbott 1. Weatherly - Stallone 1.