The Blue Mountain boys basketball squad might have been flying under the radar a bit entering this season. The Blue Eagles lost four starters from last year's 15-8 squad and it was unknown what kind of noise they could make in the Schuylkill League.
Well, eight games into the 2011-12 season and the Blue Eagles (7-1) have shown that they are certainly a force to be reckoned with. They kept things rolling last night in Summit Hill as they downed Panther Valley 66-30 for their third straight Schuylkill League Division 1 victory of the season.
Blue Mountain, which is always known for their relentless execution running the flex offense pounded the Panthers in the first half. The Eagles used a combination of tough "D" and transition three point shooting to get out to a 17-4 first quarter advantage. Blue Mountain hit five treys in the first half and nine in all.
"We knew coming in that they could shoot the three pretty well, so our goal was to try and push them out further and further in the half-court," said Blue Mountain coach Dustin Werdt. "We also did a good job on the boards, we got good outlets and our kids ran to the right spots on the floor and were able to hit some outside shots."
Blue Mountain's defense played well, but the Panthers simply couldn't get anything going on the offensive end. They shot 6-for-24 from the field in the first half and a dismal 11-for-51 for the game.
"First of all Blue Mountain is a good team and we knew that, but we lost our focus, and we played too hesitant on the offensive end in the first half," said Panther Valley coach Pat Crampsie. "As a team we just weren't making plays and then when we tried making plays we were out of control. I definitely think we're a better team, but it's evident we have a lot of work to do."
Blue Mountain put the game away in the second half after Panther Valley showed some signs of life getting within 11. The Blue Eagles went on a 14-2 run after that point. They outscored the Panthers 37-14 in the second half to help secure the 36-point victory.
"We're definitely capable of giving them a better game than we did tonight, we really need to figure some things out," said Crampsie. "We're just entirely too inconsistent right now and we need to scale some things back and get more fundamental. In a game like this we need to play with more passion as well. Against teams like Blue Mountain, North Schuylkill, and Pottsville it's important to play with a lot of emotion and we didn't have that tonight."
Shane Grapsy led Blue Mountain with 14 points, while Will Bornstein and Kyle Slane helped out with 12 points a piece.
Brett Kerschner was the lone Panther Valley player in double figures with 10.
Stramara 0-0-0-0, Bornstein 5-0-0-12, P. Harding 3-1-2-9, L. Harding 1-0-1-2, Slane 4-2-2-12, Grapsy 5-1-1-14, Jones 4-0-0-8, Tobash 0-0-0-0, Donovan 1-1-4-3, Coller 2-2-2-6, Panchari 0-0-0-0, Eifert 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 25-7-12-66.
Szczecina 1-0-0-3, Kusko 1-0-0-2, Levitt 0-0-0-0, Stano 0-0-0-0, Romanchik 1-2-4-4, Kerschner 4-0-2-10, Ferryman 2-0-1-5, Taras 0-0-0-0, Vermillion 2-0-0-6, Dubosky 0-0-0-0, Owens 0-0-0-0, Campbell 0-0-0-0, Keo 0-0-0-0, Nase 0-0-0-0, Hudicka 0-0-0-0, Moore 0-0-0-0, Weng 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 11-2-7-30.
Blue Mountain 17 12 16 21 - 66
Panther Valley 4 12 5 9 - 30
Three-pointers: BM - Grapsy 3, Slane 2, P. Harding 2, Bornstein 2. PV - Kerschner 2, Vermillion 2, Ferryman 1, Szczecina 1.