The Marian Colts basketball team has enjoyed a lot of success this season, achieving a 12-3 record.
However, the Colts have struggled at times on the offensive end of the floor, which at this point in the season can be concerning for head coach John Patton and company. Last night at Jim Thorpe, Marian just might have gotten the offensive game they needed, shooting 24-of-40 from the field, downing the Olympians 61-29.
Marian wasted no time, jumping on Thorpe from the onset with a quick 6-0 run. It was evident from the tip that Marian was steadfast on running their motion offense and the Olympians simply did not do a good job of getting through the Colts' screens.
"I think what's happening now with us is that we're better at running our sets now," said Patton. "Early in the season some of our sets were breaking down, so that led to some bad shots at bad times and turnovers, making us rely heavily on our defense. Now, we're able to run our sets consistently and we're getting good shots and those are the shots that we're making."
The Colts offense has also been improving because of the elevated play of shooting guard Ryan Karnish. The senior has been on a terror, scoring 23, 31, and 22 points in his last three games. Karnish had a nice ball game against the Olympians as well, scoring 19 points with 15 of them coming from behind the arc. Karnish took advantage of the Olympians lackluster defense, getting a majority of his shots off without any contest.
"Marian is a veteran team that really took it to us on the offensive side of the ball tonight," said Jim Thorpe coach Brian Carroll. "We just backed down defensively. We have to get back to the fundamentals defensively. We have to help better on screens, you can't just leave your teammates out on an island like we did tonight. We knew their screens were coming, but we just didn't do a good job, it's very disappointing."
The Marian defense once again came to play, holding the Olympians to just 11 field goals on the night and a 28 percent shooting percentage. The Colts "D" has been great all year long, only giving up about 40 points per game, which is tops in the TIMES NEWS area. The Colts defense paired with their improved offense bodes well for Marian down the stretch. However, with the second round of games with division foes Mahanoy Area and Shenandoah Valley there is still a lot of work to be done.
"We've obviously put ourselves in a good position, but it's very important for us to keep getting better and improving," said Patton. "Our defense has been real solid all year, but we need to keep getting better offensively and we're showing signs of that. We need to put both of those facets together because when you start to get to this point in the year teams are starting to figure it out and everyone is getting better."
A. Agosti 3-2-4-8, Whah 4-1-2-9, Kweder 1-0-0-3, R. Karnish 7-0-0-19, Richards 3-1-1-7, Swankoski 3-2-3-8, Damian 0-0-0-0, Bilka 0-0-0-0, Talbott 0-0-0-0, Karnish 0-1-2-1, Paisley 2-0-0-4, Legath 0-0-0-0, Postupack 0-0-0-0, Mussoline 1-0-0-2. TOTALS: 24-7-12-61.
Harelston 1-0-0-3, Heydt 0-0-0-0, Lindsey 2-0-2-4, Principe 0-0-0-0, Green 1-2-2-4, Smith 2-1-3-5, Principe 0-0-0-0, McEmoyle 1-0-0-2, Micciche 0-0-0-0, Brown 2-2-2-6, Everitt 2-1-4-5. TOTALS: 11-6-12-29.
Marian 15 17 19 10 - 61
Jim Thorpe 5 4 13 7 - 29
Three-pointers: M - Karnish 5; JT - Harelston 1.