Palmerton and Lehighton will both show a lot of youth in boys and girls basketball with young rosters on the court this season.
The two schools hooked up in their annual boys-girls varsity doubleheader to kick off the 2009-2010 season on Friday night and it was the Blue Bombers who came away with wins in both with underclassmen in the limelight.
A 23-point second quarter sparked by sophomore Ben Andrews and junior Jordan Reinhart off the bench enabled the boys to march out to a big lead and gain a 58-47 win in the nightcap.
Earlier, the Lady Bombers had four underclassmen score all of their points in a 50-41 triumph.
Andrews, who finished the night with a team-high 12 points, scored six of them in the second stanza and Reinhard scored six of his eight points as Palmerton went on a 14-0 run to open up a 24-10 advantage.
After trailing 8-7 at the end of the first period, Palmerton head coach Mike Snyder was happy as he watched his team hold a 30-13 edge at intermission that was capable not just by the offense, but by a trapping defense also.
"We emphasize at practice that if you make your layups and foul shots you will win basketball games," said Snyder. "I just thought it was a total team effort. Players were sucking wind, we bring a new player in and they fill right in.
"(Tyler) Kravetz got hurt, we bring Jordan Reinhart in and he played the game of his life so far. We hustled and good things happen when you hustle."
The Bombers widened the lead to 21 points (39-18) at one point in the third period with Kravetz (six points) and Zach Freed (five points) doing all of the scoring, but the Indians made a run behind a pair of three-pointers by Aaron Szakska to cut it to 41-25 entering the final eight minutes.
The Indians actually cut it to eight twice down the stretch, but the Bombers were unconscious from the free throw line to put the win away. Brett Snyder was eight-for-10 from the line and Andrews a perfect four-for-four in the waning minutes.
Andrews and Snyder combined to make 17-of-20 free throws themselves.
Backing up Andrews was Freed and Kravetz, who both finished with 10 points. Tyler Hill had a game-high 18 for Lehighton, while J.T. Keer added 10.
"We've always been pleased with the execution of the offense," said Snyder. "And tonight the shots fell."
On the girls side, Kristen Romano scored seven of her 15 points in the opening period as the Lady Bombers jumped out to a 19-8 lead and held on from there for the win.
"It's always nice to get the first win under you belt," said Palmerton girls head coach Don Delich. "We're a little banged up and have to make a quick turnaround with a tough game against Jim Thorpe (tonight)."
Romano, Casey Rinfret (13 points), Kelsey Hay (13 points and Katie Reimer (nine points) accounted for all of Palmerton's scoring in the contest.
Jordyn Homyak's game-high 19 points kept the Lady Indians within striking distance down the stretch and Sheena White added 10 points from underneath.
Homyak had seven points in the second quarter to cut the Bomber lead to 27-19 at the half. She scored six of her team's eight points in the third quarter as they pulled within six and got that close again in the final eight minutes but that was it.
"It was a total team effort tonight," said Delich. "I have eight quality players and on any given night anyone can start and anyone can have 15 points.
"It seems like we were practicing forever and the kids were kind of anxious to get out here and play. We jumped on them right away and that was important."
While the Palmerton girls play again tonight, the boys host Tamaqua on Monday night before heading into Colonial League play against Catasauqua on Tuesday.
Lehighton meanwhile has a boys contest against Notre Dame of East Stroudsburg on Tuesday, while the girls are idle until Friday's MVC opener against Pocono Mountain East.
Tyahla 1-0-0-3, Furry 0-0-0-0, Haas 0-0-0-0, Freed 3-4-6-10, Marcin 1-0-0-2, Snyder 0-8-10-8, Eaton 0-0-0-0, Kleintop 0-0-0-0, Andrews 1-9-10-12, Svetik 2-0-0-5, Geist 0-0-0-0, Kravetz 3-4-6-10, Reinhart 4-0-1-8. TOTALS: 15-25-33-58.
Edgar 0-0-0-0, Keer 3-1-2-10, Rossino 3-0-0-6, Kresge 0-0-0-0, Hill 7-2-4-18, Matika 0-1-2-1, Szakska 3-0-0-8, Getz 1-0-0-2, Evans 0-2-2-2, Scott 0-0-0-0. TOTALS: 17-6-10-47.
Palmerton 7 23 11 17 - 58
Lehighton 8 5 16 22 - 47
Three-pointers: Palmerton - Tyahla 1, Andrews 1, Svetik 1; Lehighton - Keer (3), Hill (2), Szaksa (2).
Smith 0-0-0-0, Reimer 3-3-5-9, Romano 7-0-0-15, Rinfret 5-3-4-13, Farquhar 0-0-0-0, Snyder 0-0-0-0, Hay 6-1-3-13. TOTALS: 21-7-12-50.
Locker 2-0-0-4, Homyak 8-1-1-19, Green 2-0-0-4, McCullion 1-0-0-2, Moyer 1-0-1-2, Smith 0-0-2-0, White 4-2-4-10. TOTALS: 18-3-8-41.
Palmerton 19 8 8 15 - 50
Lehighton 8 11 8 14 - 41
Three-pointers: Palmerton - Romano 1; Lehighton - Homyak 2.