The best way to explain why Weatherly lost a basketball game last night to Minersville is to borrow an old sports slogan.
It's not how you start a game; it's how you finish.
Despite coming out of the locker room with an 11-0 run and ending the first half with a 12 point advantage, the Wreckers were overcome by a second half Minersville rally and dropped a 50-49 Schuylkill League decision.
Although it appeared that his team would get blown out early, Miners' coach Cliff Woodford seemed calm and patient as he called time outs during the first eight minutes to refocus his team.
"We were very complacent at the start," said Woodford. "We were working the perimeter too much and settling for threes that weren't falling."
Brett Stallone's driving bucket with 2:42 left in the first quarter completed Weatherly's early run as the Miners didn't score until Isaac Melochick drilled a trey at the 2:26 mark.
In the second quarter, the Miners began to get some offensive flow.
"Instead of moving east to west, we moved north to south and we started to execute our half court offense much better by moving the ball into the short post to attack the basket," said Woodford.
Wreckers' coach Ron Cann was pleased early on with his team's energy and ball movement, but the second half was a different story as Minersville (6-8) cut the lead to nine with four minutes to go in the third and the feeling was that their comeback was on the way.
"Their 1-2-1 press made us hurry our shots and we didn't run our plays like we did in the first half," said Cann.
Trailing by seven to start the fourth quarter, Minersville played true to their mascot's name the Battlin' Miners. After the Wreckers' Luke Reiner scored 35 seconds in, Minersville went to work. Senior Ryan King, scoreless in the game to this point, hit back-to-back three pointers to cut Weatherly's lead to three points with under four minutes left. Then Melochick scored seven of his 17 points as he hit a three, a deuce, and two big fouls shots with 30 seconds left to give the Miners a three point edge.
Nick Miller scored a layup off a steal with nine seconds remaining to bring the Wreckers to within one. Then Weatherly (5-6) got the ball off a turnover, but lost it out of bounds under the basket with 3.5 on the clock. Forced to foul, the Wreckers put Minersville's Aaron Fritz on the line. He made both ends of a one and one for a three point cushion. Stallone, who had a game high 18 points for Weatherly, scored on a follow-up as the final horn sounded to set the final.
"Too many turnovers and mental errors," said Cann. "Plus we let them get standing still shots and they cashed them in."
"It's a bad loss, but a good learning experience for our kids. This was our first really close game this year, so I hope we have learned how to get ready for the next one."
King 2-0-0-6, Melochick 6-2-2-17, Bethea 4-0-0-8, Hashin 1-0-0-2, Fritz 1-2-2-5, Tobin 1-0-0-2, N. McBreen 2-0-0-5, Brophy 2-1-2-5, J. McBreen 0-0-0-0, Fedornak 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-5-6-50.
L. Reiner 1-0-0-3, Miller 1-0-0-2, Stallone 6-4-4-18, Wallish 2-4-4-8, J.Reiner 4-0-0-10, Haganey 3-0-0-8. TOTALS: 17-8-8-49.
Minersville 5 11 13 21 - 50
Weatherly 15 13 8 13 - 49
Three pointers: M - Melochick 3, King 2, Fritz 1, N. McBreen 1. W - Haganey 2, Stallone 2, J. Reiner 2.